Posted April 17, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
“The exact measure of the progress of civilization is the degree in which the intelligence of the common mind has prevailed over wealth and brute force; in other words, the measure of the progress of civilization is the progress of the people.”
– George Bancroft (1800-1891) American historian
On April 7, 2014, the citizens of Maui County in Hawaii turned in their over 11,000 signatures calling for a ballot referendum to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from their region. The first speaker at a ceremony to mark the occasion noted that Jackson County, Oregon overcame $500,000 spent by genetic food manufacturers to pass a ban on GMOs in that region. He tells the men, women, and children in front of their government building that, since GMOs and their pesticides have come to Maui, the people’s disease rates have increased, and people are dying in higher numbers from cancer.
Another academic points out that he has never been asked to sign any consent form to allow GMOs and chemical pesticides in Maui County, just as every person who receives a flu shot does. He tells his fellow citizens that “we have the right to be heard on this.” An elderly doctor tells the people of Maui that after decades of poisoning the land, “at some point you have to stop poisoning the soil.” His view is that releasing life-forms into the environment is “an extremely risky experiment”, and that “we are coming to realize that we are that experiment.”
He says that scientists around the Earth – from South America, China, Europe, Russia – are producing and publishing studies showing the harmful consequences of eating genetically modified foods. In those and other regions, men and women are becoming more and more aware of the negative impacts of GM food products; of genetically living modified organisms.
A local Native Hawaiian organic farmer speaks to the gathering: “Today we cleanse the land so that tomorrow plants will grow, and it will be a new day – a new beginning. They’ve brought us into this corner to awaken us – for us to say ‘enough already.’ We have earned the right to go to battle; they will bring us all of these documents, they will throw money. It ain’t about money. It ain’t about greed. It is about doing what is right.”
The film provides an inspirational example of what people are capable of when they take action to do what is right. The song by the young man has lines which point to the importance of understanding the idea of societal movements advocating for the majority of people and not just the few. He doesn’t mention if he wrote the song, but whether he did or not, it is music that speaks in an anthem-like way to current social justice, economic fairness, and peace initiatives which are growing worldwide.
Congratulations to the people of Maui!
The doctor in this short film (The Petition Turn-in Ceremony – The Day Everything Changed On Maui) mentions that scientific GMO studies from around the world are being posted on the organization’s website.
That website is: shakamovement.org
(Thank you to ShakaMovement Maui at YouTube)