Glorious night for Kauai

SUBHEAD: Vandana Shiva, Walter Ritte & Andrew Kimbell bring hope and courage to Kauai in facing down GMOs.  

By Juan Wilson on 18 January 2013 for Island Breath -

Image above: Makana performed in the packed theater hall before speakers made their presentations.  Photo by Juan Wilson.

The parking lot was almost full when we arrived early to participate in the free Seed Exchange that had been organized in one of the large conference rooms of the Kauai Peace & Freedom Convention Center.

This special evening was made possible by a special grant from The Ceres Trust & Hawaii Seed.  Also, GMO Free Kauai was crucial in organizing this event. Many organizations had booths at the Seed Exchange, including Malama Iki Honua, Regenerations Botanical, and Kauai Grown. Special thanks was given for a generous grant from Ceres Trust.

The other conference room was dedicated to a dinner and meeting between Dr. Vandana Shiva and Westside residents.  It is they who have been hardest hit by the GMO practices of raising toxic chemically laden dust in the wind and poisoning the soil.

The cross section of people that showed up for this event was broad. People of all ages, stations and many cultural backgrounds attended. There was a sense of enthusiasm as well as joy, that I think at least partially because of the great turnout.

A more than standing room only crowd of Kauaians came to hear internationally, nationally and locally renowned  anti-GMO activists. They were:

  • Walter Ritte - Hawaiian sovereignty leader, educator, hunter, fisherman and farmer.
  • Andrew Kimbrell - Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, and anti-GMO lawyer.
  • Vandana Shiva, world renowned physicist, philosopher and sustainability consultant; farmer.

Image above: The seed exchange was well attended.Knowledge and seeds were freely distributed.  Photo by Juan Wilson.

The three presented their views on the state on the war on Nature being waged by the toxic chemo-corporations; Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, among others. And they brought hope, strategy, and courage to Kauai.

Walter Ritte, has used his mana to push back on the corporate military state. He was a key actor in getting Kahoolawe island back under Hawaiian control from thr US Navy. he was instrumental in getting the University of Hawaii to give up its taro patent and plans for open field GMO experimentation. In his presentation, made the connection between Hawaiian cultural sovereignty and food sovereignty. His message included the importance of acting with grounded local authority to the state and the corporations they serve.

Andrew Kimbrell gave many specific examples of how the chemical corporations are losing the war against natural food production. He identified the first patent on life was awarded in 1980 in the landmark case, Diamond v. Chakrabarty, in which the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin that living organisms (in this instance, a bacterium) could be patented and the terrible cascade of events since then. Kimbrell specifically identified high priority battles that much be engaged now to keep the pressure on - One: Stopping the FDA approval of GMO Salmon and pressure the Obama Administration to Label GMO Foods.

Dr. Vandana Shiva finished the night with a worldwide view of the war associated with GMO BigAg corporate farming. She made a clear connection with GMO manufacturers and the history of war chemical weapons manufacturers such as Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, and Bayer. Dr. Shiva also linked Union Carbide (now owned by DOW) with the Bhopal Disaster in 1984.  She talked of pesticide use in the "Green Revolution" in India, where American corporations were pushing chemicals, fertilizers and petroleum driven equipment on traditional independent farmers in Punjab. She finished by charging those attending with the task of pushing the GMO companies off Kauai. She urged Hawaiians to use land reform for the public to take back control of the land needed to grow their own food, which she regards as a basic human right.

It was an exceptionally enthusiastic crowd. There were countless standing ovations. I don't remember such unity of purpose  on Kauai in one room since we faced-down Governor Linda Lingle and her "Unified Command" trying to jam the Superferry down our throats while threatening our children with separation from their parents. What a night!

Image above: Dr Vandana Shiva (L) meets with activists at dinner conference, with Howard Hurst (maluiawcms), center. Photo by Juan Wilson.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Bringing the anti-GMO message 1/19/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Vandana Shiva to be on Kauai 1/5/13


  1. It was an amazing event. Thanks for the great report, Andy. People are unifying and waking up. It was an enthusiastic, happy evening about a dark subject. Gratitude to everyone who participated.

  2. oops. Juan. ??? don't know were the misnomer came from.