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The Garden Island: Walter Ritte, Andrew Kimbrell address Hawai‘i SEED event

Posted: January 20th, 2013 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
andrew kimbrell hawaii seed tour kauai The Garden Island: Walter Ritte, Andrew Kimbrell address Hawai‘i SEED event Wheat Walter Ritte University of Hawaii Syngenta sustainability sugar beets State Capitol Salmon RoundUp rice Public Land Development Corporation Proposition 37 PLDC pesticides Nancy Redfeather Molokai Lihue Kaua‘i War Memorial Auditorium Kauai Kaho‘olawe International Center for Technology Assessment India HI Hawaii SEED Tour Hawaii government GMOs GMO Labeling Gary Hooser Flavr Savr FDA Family Dupont Dr. Vandana Shiva Dow Chemical Dicamba Corporations Center for Food Safety California Bayer Andrew Kimbrell alfalfa Agent Orange 2 4 D

Walter Ritte, Andrew Kimbrell address Hawai‘i SEED event

By Laurie Cicotello – The Garden Island

LIHU‘E — Wendell Berry once said, “To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.”

Environmental attorney Andrew Kimbrell shared Berry’s quotation with a standing room only crowd on the final evening of the Hawai‘i SEED Tour event featuring Dr. Vandana Shiva Thursday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Auditorium (see Saturday’s online edition for a full story about Shiva’s presentation).

Berry’s quotation resonated the most during the evening, with Dr. Shiva also paraphrasing it before announcing that she would return to Kaua‘i, “only when you have driven those criminals off this island.”

Opening the event for Dr. Shiva Thursday night were Kimbrell and Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte.

In introducing Ritte, emcee Nancy Redfeather of Hawai‘i noted his work in 1975 reclaiming Kaho‘olawe from the U.S. military, which was using it for target practice.

She also recalled watching him and his two sons testify to stop a company from doing biological drug testing in Hawai‘i and how they successfully blocked the effort.

“On Moloka‘i, we are fiercely protective of our natural resources,” Ritte said. “We have a cash economy and a subsistence economy and we need both to survive.”

He said some islands have lost one of those economies and people get by on a cash economy.

On Moloka‘i, though, he said, “We fiercely protect the environment because that’s how we feed our family. The skills that allow us to harvest these resources and feed our families are traditional skills. Monsanto is the No. 1 problem we have right now.”

He said Native Hawaiians are asking him ‘We have sovereignty and rights to take of, why are you wasting your time on GMOs?’

For him, the answer boils down to food sustainability.

“If we are not going to learn how to feed ourselves, we are never going to be independent, self-sufficient and sovereign, never. Never,” he said.

Ritte described having the doors shut on protesters last year during an anti-GMO rally at the State Capitol.

“It was a horrible feeling,” Ritte said. “These elected officials have joined the corporations. They have declared a war on our environment and this island has the most to lose, because it is the most beautiful island in all of Hawai‘i. You have the most to protect.”

He said his job for the evening was to instill in the audience the idea that talk alone would not solve problems.

“If we don’t do anything, we are going to lose. We need you to participate in government,” Ritte said.

He praised the efforts of the Hawai‘i SEED leadership in getting people involved on both leading a three-mile march from UH to the Capitol on O‘ahu and in filling the entire facility on Kaua‘i.

“It’s these women who have all this energy and commitment. Holy burning on my ballbearings, I cannot keep up with this group,” Ritte said to applause. “The leadership right now coming from Kaua‘i is ahead of any other island. No other island can fill rooms like this. The leadership is coming from your island. You guys are in the lead, just like you were on the Superferry.”

Ritte also addressed the issue of the Public Land Development Corporation, calling on Gary Hooser to take the lead on making changes. With the changes in House leadership, Ritte said the doors are open to affecting change statewide.

Ritte said yesterday marked the 120th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. He said the issue needs to be made pono, to be corrected in order to move forward.

“If you build the foundation of how we’re going to protect our environment, using the most powerful laws in the state, it’s not going to be just the Hawaiians rising up. It’s going to be all of us joining up and rising up together because of the love we have for future generations,” he said.

In thanking the crowd for allowing him to share his mana‘o, he said, “We are all here because we love our environment and we love our Islands. We need to protect them come hell or high water.”

Along with Shiva was Andrew Kimbrell, who became the executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment in 1994 and the executive director of the Center for Food Safety in 1997. As one of the leading environmental attorneys in the nation, he has authored several books on the environment, technology in society and food issues. In 1994, Utne Reader named him as one of the world’s leading visionaries.

Kimbrell opened his talk by paying homage to emcee Nancy Redfeather and her work in the legislature and to Jeri Di Pietro, president of Hawai‘i SEED.

He shared a story about Walter Ritte after he stopped the genetic engineering of taro. A group was sitting around trying to figure out the next step and Kimbrell suggested the company might try to patent taro, to which Ritte replied, ‘They can’t patent my older brother!”

The next thing Kimbrell knew, Ritte and his Hawaiian warriors chained themselves to a building where the Regents for the University of Hawai‘i was meeting to give up the patents they had on taro, which ultimately they did.

“To my knowledge, it’s the only time a patent holder has ever given up a patent, particularly under the threat of imprisonment,” Kimbrell said. “They say if you want something done, give it to a busy man. I say if you want anything done, give it to this man.”

Kimbrell said he met Dr. Vandana Shiva in 1989 at the first global warming conference for NGOs. He said the “beauty and nobility of her presence” immediately drew him to her.

He said that during that first meeting, Dr. Shiva said that in India, her people “have for millennia lived, more or less, in harmony with the world, but here in the West, in less than 150 years, you’ve created almost a terminal threat to the planet. So from now on at this conference, why don’t we call you the underdeveloped world?”

Kimbrell fired off a long list of products his group has stopped, including the Flavor Savor genetically engineered tomato to wheat, alfalfa, sugar beets, slo mo grass, rice, even biopharmaceuticals.

“Monsanto can be stopped. We were outspent 20:1 by Monsanto and won,” Kimbrell said to applause, adding that it’s not a matter of “if we’re going to have labeling, but when.”

He described writing Proposition 37 in California, and how they lost the proposition 51 to 49. He said Monsanto spent $50 million and only won by a narrow margin.

“I love suing Monsanto,” Kimbrell said in discussing gene and patent cases heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. “It never stops them from being passive aggressive cause we just get to sue them.”

He noted there are five major companies equal to Monsanto including Dow Chemical, DuPont, Syngenta and Bayer.

The crowd loudly tried to correct him, shouting out “Pioneer!” to which Kimbrell reminded them that Pioneer is a subsidiary of DuPont.

Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta own 51 percent of the world’s seeds, he said.

The seeds are designed to withstand huge applications of pesticides, which the same companies sell, Kimbrell said.

He said the Big 5 put out 115 million more pounds of pesticides and “we get rid of 40 million pounds of pesticides,” but it creates an adaptation of super weeds through survival of the fittest and weeds that can’t be killed with RoundUp.

Dow Chemicals said took over and created 2,4-D resistant crops.

“2,4-D is one of the elements in Agent Orange. So then they start a chemical arms race because Monsanto says they are going to go with Dicamba,” Kimbrell said, adding that these crops are currently up for USDA approval.

Kimbrell said Dicamba is one of the most terrifying weed killers as well because it volatilizes. “That means that under certain warm and wet conditions, it comes back up in a cloud after it’s been sprayed and can move miles over an organic farm and kill everything there. We’ve had conventional farmers say they don’t want this thing, so our work is not done.”

He went on to say “one of the most troubling things for me” is that the FDA is currently finalizing the approval of genetically engineered salmon.

“The salmon was originally engineered with human growth genes to make it grow larger, faster, and now they put some pout genes to do the same thing,” Kimbrell said.

He added that researchers said it would take a very small number of these salmon to decimate all salmon.

“Sixty fish like this, if they are released into a population of 60,000 native salmon, can cause extinction in thirty generations,” Kimbrell said.

He said there are about 45 days left for people to contact the FDA and tell them not to approve the fish.

Kimbrell added that 1.25 million people so far have signed a labeling petition asking President Obama to label GMO foods and said it is the largest response the FDA has ever had.

Based on the passion shown for the petition, Kimbrell encouraged the audience to have passion for their convictions.

“People who make war just for making war will fight for any side and quit when they want, but if you’re a lover … If you are a lover of seas, if you are a lover of lands, if you are a lover of rivers, if you are a lover of animals, then you will fight. You will fight for that. Lovers are the best fighters.”

Kimbrell once got called out for being against progress, but offered that the question needs to be “progress toward what?”

“The U.N. just came out with a report that said the way we are going to feed the world is not through genetic engineering, is not through toxic inputs, is not through pesticides, is not through the 2,4-D and the Dicamba and the RoundUp that is in the dust on Moloka‘i and hurting and killing children on this island. We know it’s the toxic herbicides. That is not progress. That can never be progress,” Kimbrell said, adding the companies are destroying the Earth and making “zillions of dollars” in the process, all in the name of progress. “We’ll occupy progress,” he said.

He said biotech companies would like for people to remain passive consumers, but noted that Ritte said everyone is a creator capable of making decisions, “in the food we grow, the food we buy, the food we feed out children, the food we allow in our schools and in our communities is either going to progress this terrible mechanistic nightmare that’s now reached it’s endpoint in the actual engineering of the seed to be intolerant to these horrifying toxins and poisons or be organic and beyond, which is the fastest growing sector in American agriculture that is organic, local, appropriate scale, humane, socially just and biodiverse.”

Kimbrell encouraged the audience to be creators by getting involved to no longer be part of the desecration as described by Wendell Berry.

“Don’t just read a poem, write a poem. Don’t just listen to music, write music. Don’t just eat food, grow food. That’s the way to do it. Don’t just watch romantic movies, make love,” he said.

In the end, he encouraged the crowd to come together in the food movement.

“As you fight every battle here, I hope you all together, in cooperation, in love, can knowingly, skillfully, lovingly and most important reverentially, come together to create a new food future.”


Source: The Garden Island


Click here to watch Videos of Dr. Shiva, Walter Ritte, Andrew Kimbrell, and Makana

The Nation: Mitt Romney, Monsanto Man

Posted: September 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
romney monsanto man Charles Dharapak The Nation: Mitt Romney, Monsanto Man Wheat Western Growers Association Wayne Barrett Walmart USDA United Nations United Fresh Produce Association Union of Concerned Scientists Tom Vilsack Tom Nassif Steve Troxler Starbucks soybean Solutia Solamere Capital Shawn McCoy Roy Blunt Roundup Ready RoundUp Richard Mahoney rice Randy Russell Ralph Willard PCBs Patrick Graham Osborn & Barr NutraSweet National Pork Producers Council National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Monsanto Mitt Romney Mike Johanns Michelle Obama Matt Blunt Land O Lakes Kraft Foods Kelli Powers Katie Smith John W. Hanley John Qualls John Block Jim Talent Jerry Crawford Jay Vroom Jack Kingston IUD Institute for Sustainability Howard Schneiderman GMO Food gmo George Bush Frank Reining Frank Lucas flax FDA Eastman Chemical Earle Harbison Dr. Earl Beaver Dan Quinn CropLife America Covalence Corn Chuck Conner Chris Policinski bovine growth hormone Bill Northey Bill Bain Bernie Sanders Bain Capital Arthur Fitzgerald American Soybean Association alfalfa Agent Orange Abigail Blunt A.G. Kawamura

Mitt Romney, Monsanto Man

by Wayne Barrett, September 12, 2012


This article was reported in collaboration with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, where Barrett is a reporting fellow.


Though Mitt Romney has been campaigning for president since 2006, it’s alarming how little is known about critical chapters of his business biography. Nothing spells that out more clearly than his ties to Monsanto—the current target of a mid-September Occupy nationwide action—whose dark history features scandals involving PCBs, Agent Orange, bovine growth hormone, NutraSweet, IUD, genetically modified (GM) seed and herbicides, reaching back to the 1970s and ’80s. That’s when Monsanto was the largest consulting client of Romney’s employer, Bain & Company, and when Romney helped move Monsanto from chemical colossus to genetic giant, trading one set of environmental controversies for another.
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Take the Flour Back – May 27th, 2012

Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |
take the flour back Take the Flour Back   May 27th, 2012 wind pollination Wheat UK Rothamsted Park Rothamsted Protest organic Genetically Modified Wheat genes Farmers Direct Action decontamination

Stop the open-air release of GM Wheat that contains genes ‘most similar to that of a cow’

Rothamsted have planted a new GM wheat trial designed to repel aphids. It contains genes for antibiotic-resistance and an artificial gene ‘most similar to a cow’.

Wheat is wind-pollinated. In Canada similar experiments have leaked into the food-chain costing farmers millions in lost exports. There is no market for GM wheat anywhere in the world.

La Via Campesina, the world’s largest organisation of peasant farmers, believe GM is increasing world hunger. They have called for support resisting GM crops, and the control over agriculture that biotech gives to corporations.

‘Take the Flour Back’ will be a nice day out in the country, with picnics, music from Seize the Day and a decontamination. It’s for anyone who feels able to publically help remove this threat and those who want to show their support for them.

Meet Rothamsted Park, Harpenden, Herts (30 mins from London by train) 12 noon on 27th May.

Why a decontamination?

This open air trial poses a real, serious and imminent contamination threat to the local environment and the UK wheat industry. We’re calling on the Government and Rothamsted to remove the GM plants themselves, but if they fail to do so then May 27th is the last weekend action can safely be taken before pollination.

We’d rather not have to clean it up, but there simply aren’t any other avenues open to us. Despite expert representations urging caution the government has never refused any request for GM trials in the UK. Given that the current head of the responsible department (DEFRA) is a former biotech industry lobbyist this is hardly surprising.

The coalition have no mandate for forcing GM into our countryside, they’re acting against the express outcome of the democratic process by doing so. The government conducted the largest public consultation in recent history on Genetically Modified crops in 2003 (GM Nation) which found that the majority of the British public were “cautious, suspicious or outright hostile” towards GM crops.

Anyone who feels compelled to take this step with us will be in good company. Across the channel farmers, families, and local mayors have taken part in similar daytime decontaminations, and as a result France is currently in the process of banning its only commercially grown GM variety. In Belgium last year a mass public decontamination removed the GM potato trial in question, and is likely to have been instrumental in biotech giant BASF deciding to pull out of Europe.

This crop is a threat to our thriving wheat industry and our food security. This action is for anyone who feels able to help take it out, and all those who wish to support them.


Statements of support:
African Biodiversity Network and Gaia Foundation statement
Community Food Growers’ Network statement
Karnataka Farmers’ Association statement
Real Bread Campaign statement

gcu corn field agents Take the Flour Back   May 27th, 2012 wind pollination Wheat UK Rothamsted Park Rothamsted Protest organic Genetically Modified Wheat genes Farmers Direct Action decontamination

  • Read the appeal letter from Rothamsted Research [PDF]