Citizens groups in Maui County, including The SHAKA Movement, stood up to two of the most influential Agro-chemical corporations, Monsanto and Mycogen (Dow AgroSciences), and won the most highly financed political campaign in the history of Hawaii. (1) The results are the strongest local GMO restrictions in the nation, a temporary ban on all GM crop production and experimentation till studies show no harm. Calling themselves the Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban, but funded almost exclusively by the Agro Chemical companies (Monsanto 5.1 Million, Dow/Mycogen 1.8 Million), the anti-moratorium group reported raising nearly $8 million dollars through Oct 20. (10) Numbers for the last two weeks of the campaign are, as of yet, unreported.
Despite Monsanto's typical flooding of millions of dollars into Maui, where they outspent citizens 87 to 1, they ended up being narrowly defeated. As noted by Democracy Now, Maui County's measure is one of the strongest anti-GMO measures ever to pass.
“The Maui GMO moratorium calls for a complete suspension of the cultivation of GMO crops until studies conclusively prove they are safe.
Maui is often called ‘GMO Ground Zero' and the moratorium that passed [November 4] could have national implications because multinational seed producers, such as Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, use the county to research and develop new seed varieties.”
The safety studies required to lift the moratorium are to be paid for by the seed companies, but would be conducted by the county of Maui. Not surprisingly, Monsanto has already announced it will file a lawsuit to challenge the legality of the moratorium.
How Did Maui Pull It Off?
You may be wondering …
“For the first time in 20 years travelers did not select Maui as the number one island destination in the world. (11) It's no coincidence that also for the first time ‘NON GMO' beat out ‘ORGANIC' as the pivotal feature for purchasing decisions by consumers concerned with heath and sustainability,” (12) said Sheehan. “Why should our far larger tourist industry be out at risk from GMO's and expanding pesticide use for the benefit of just two Agro Chemical companies? The SHAKA Movement is working to help create healthy Ag and non-Ag jobs as an alternative for GMO farm workers. Now the high profile maneuvers the companies promise will only do more harm to our tourism making that harder to do. Why not put all the money they are wasting towards doing the reasonable studies instead and we can all move on safely and sustainably?”
Sheehan adds: “The SHAKA Movement looks forward to working with the County to heal the divisions created by all the propaganda and misinformation pumped into our community and to creating a sustainable agricultural system that emphasizes local food security over exports for profits. This initiative was an important first step for us all to find a new way of self-governing, where when the people lead, the leaders shall follow. In the coming months, as the truth of the chemical industry's over $8 million dollar advertising campaign is revealed, the people will rise up in even greater solidarity to protect our children and our environment. We give thanks for all who have come before us and to the many citizen volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this day happen.
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