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Rebekah Wilce's Posts

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A rising tide of cash

Pesticide and GMO companies spend big to influence politics in Hawaii

money pile
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Hawaii has become "ground zero" in the controversy over genetically modified crops and pesticides. With the seed crop industry (including conventional as well as GMO crops) reaping $146.3 million a year in sales resulting from its activities in Hawaii, the out-of-state pesticide and GMO firms SyngentaMonsantoDuPont PioneerDow ChemicalBASF, and Bayer CropScience have brought substantial sums of corporate cash into the state's relatively small political arena.

Chemical conglomerates retaliate against local democratic control

These “Big 6” pesticide and GMO firms are very active on the islands, making use of the three to four annual growing seasons to develop new GMO seeds more quickly. The development of new GMOs by these pesticide and seed conglomerates goes hand-in-hand with heavy pesticide use in some of the islands' experimental crop fields, new data show.

Kauai County -- consisting primarily of the island of Kauai, known as Hawaii's "Garden Isle" and home to Waimea Canyon State Park -- passed a law in November 2013 that will require disclosure of pesticide use and GMO crops sewn by growers and create buffer zones around schools, parks, medical facilities, and private residences. The law is set to go into effect in August 2014.

Hawaii County banned GMOs altogether in November 2013, and a Maui County initiative to ban GMOs recently obtained enough citizen signatures to be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

Since experiencing these setbacks, the ag giants have retaliated in a big way. And they and other Big Ag interests have poured money into lobbying against GMO restrictions and backing GMO-friendly candidates (details below).

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Looking for kids’ books? Avoid this Monsanto propaganda

Did you know that genetic engineering "is helping to improve the health of the Earth and the people who call it home"? A trade group funded by Monsanto wants your kids to believe it.

The Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) has published a kids' book [PDF] on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that purports to give kids "a closer look at biotechnology. You will see that biotechnology is being used to figure out how to: 1) grow more food; 2) help the environment; and 3) grow more nutritious food that improves our health."

If that book doesn't appeal to you, you could try a nanotechnology coloring book made by a company that produces such things as "colloidal silver nanoparticles" used in antibacterial products that find their way into the water supply and can be poisonous to the human system. It compares nanotechnologies like these silvers to "the smell of baking cookies."