Mana March

I don’t usually write about politics, but the “Mana March” I participated in on Sunday was more than political…

Some of the world’s largest agricultural biotech companies have taken up 15,000 acres of Kauai land to test genetically modified crops. A part of their process involves massive amounts of pesticide use. About 18 tons of “restricted use pesticides” are sprayed annually (Atrazine to name one, which was banned in Europe in 2004), as well as employing at least five times that amount of ‘non-restricted’ pesticides, which are potentially just as harmful.

One company, Pioneer DuPont, has been recorded as applying these pesticides to their crops between 10 – 16 times a day, at least 250 days a year. There are currently no buffer zones to protect nearby schools, neighborhoods or waterways from the drift or seepage of these toxic pesticides. Currently, the agribusiness companies utilizing Kauai’s 15,000 acres for their genetically modified crop experiments, refuse to disclose the exact chemicals being used, when, or where.

Residents of the surrounding community where these crops are located are reporting unexplained illnesses. Babies are being born with strange, life-long defects. Doctors, nurses and teachers are voicing concern, especially for children, who’s developing bodies (in utero and in maturing years) are most susceptible to the harmful effects of these chemicals.

A bill, titled Bill 2491, has been created to insist that our island have a right to know what pesticides are being used and that a buffer zone be created around drift-prone areas, especially schools. It also insists that environmental evaluations begin to determine the safety of these chemicals, implementing restrictions when necessary.

Sunday, Jeb, the Bohemian, and I walked with about 4,000 Kauaians down Rice Street to the County building in support of Bill 2491. The demonstration is said to have been the largest in our small island’s history.

This issue of Genetically Modified Foods, pesticide use, and monoculture farming is complex and multi-layered. There is much that I have yet to learn.

One thing I do know, you have to care for the earth in order for it to care for you.

For myself, for my island, and for our children, I walked to represent this truth.  It was one  small gesture, but with 4,000 strong, it was many steps in the right direction.

2013-09-09_Boh stps

2013-09-09_Boh Jeb

islanders, as far as the eye can see
islanders, as far as the eye can see

Check out the Garden Island Newspaper’s report:

And for more information on GMO experiments on Kauai, here’s a FACT page from

Olfactory Express

You’ve only got two hours if you want to make it to the Kilauea post office on a Saturday. Weekend hours got cut back a couple of years ago. I’m in line clutching my parcel to be mailed.

The contents are a project, which for now, shall remain nameless. It’s a culmination of something I’ve been thinking about for eighteen months and working on, diligently, for five.

This labor of love is two inches thick, heavy with content, and shipping priority, delivery confirmation requested.


As I wait in line for my turn at the counter, a woman in her seventies steps inside the door carrying a tray of gardenias.

“Good morning, would you like one?” she says to each of the handful of women that stand there. One by one, we beam smiles, choose a bloom and inhale happily.

I pick one that’s still budding but exuding a fragrance all the same. “Thank you.”

She leaves the final selection for our local postal worker who pauses at the package scale, takes a flower and says “Oh, my favorite!”

And with her delivery complete, the woman bearing blossoms leaves with an “aloha,” and then, it’s my turn to mail my hefty parcel.

I’ll take the gardenia gift as a good omen. Send my project to Chicago wafting on the perfume of Kauai backyard flower bushes.

It’s the way we ship here on the Garden Isle.


Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

In an attempt to broaden my scope, this is my second time participating in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge. Looks like this week I’m really stretching, as the challenge involves use of my phone as my capturing eye.

I have an iPhone but have never warmed to using it for meaningful pictures.

These photos were taken on a short morning wander after dropping Jeb at the bus stop. I walked among the waking world, my phone in the pocket of my cargo pants.

Looking up, I saw the sunrise view. Looking down, a slow-moving garden pest, the size of which only Kauai can nurture.

This is my neighborhood. Where the vistas are breathtaking, things grow big, and the pace is island-style slow.

2013-03-13sunrise_crater hill