Despite being a haven of endemic flora, in recent years the Hawaiian islands have become a locus for genetically modified crop trials. This week protesters gathered on the North Shore to voice their opposition to GM and intensive pesticide use, bolstered by the well known faces of surfing's elite.
Under pouring rain a crowd of more than 1000 local residents and environmental activists marched along the North Shore highway, joined by Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Mark Healey, Seabass, Makua Rothman, John John Florence, Jamie O’Brien, and Bede Durbidge. The event was led by Kauai's Dustin Barca, in collaboration with the Hawai'i GMO Justice Coalition.
Opposition to GM testing in Hawaii has recently been given a glimpse of hope in the form of the Kauai Bill 2491. This legislation, requiring companies to disclose their use of pesticides and regulating farmers who grow genetically modified crops, was vetoed by the mayor of Kauai, but has subsequently been pushed through by city council.
"We are Ground Zero for GMO Poison Chemical testing here in Hawaii." says Barca. "The Corporations that are doing it are the Biggest Chemical Company's in the World. GMO is banned in many European countries and is the work of evil. They are creating food that does not reproduce therefore those who eat it will be unable to reproduce, and that alone is a crime against humanity."
Barca's rhetoric might sound strong, and scientifically unsubstantiated, but as resident living and surfing in close proximity to experimental GM crops, laden with pesticides, his anger can be easily understood.