Industrial food complex hastening climate change

In Hawaii, the debate over the safety of GMO products often centers around eating the food or being exposed to chemicals used in its production.

Both are important, even urgent, concerns. But there is another that may be just as urgent: the impact of industrial food systems on climate change.

Most experts agree that warning bells should sound when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reach 350 parts per million (ppm). But according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CO2 levels last year exceeded 400 ppm and are rising. Climate change is real and its impacts are far-reaching, especially for island communities such as ours.

The global food system is responsible for about half of greenhouse gases (GHG), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Worldwide food production is generally put into two categories:

» The “industrial food complex,” characterized by large-scale commodity crops (corn, soy, wheat, canola, sugar beet), concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) fed by those commodity crops, and the processed food industry which uses these two sources for raw materials.

» The “traditional food web,” small-to-medium family farms, which do not grow commodity crops for industrial food. This includes pasture-fed animal operations, sustainable fish harvesting and organic farms.

According to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development’s (IAASTD) Global Report — a joint program of the World Bank, World Health Organization and United Nations — traditional food produces 70 percent of what the world’s human population eats but taxes resources only 30 percent. Conversely, industrial food provides 30 percent of the world’s food and uses 70 percent of resources. This means industrial food is putting 5.4 times the GHG into the atmosphere for every calorie of food it produces compared to traditional food.

In the U.S., over 75 percent of food on chain grocery store shelves is from industrial food. The impacts on our planet:

» Industrial agriculture uses 26 times as much fossil fuel today to produce one calorie of food as it did in 1940.

» It takes 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of CAFO meat.

» CAFOs create effluent lagoons the size of lakes that emit enormous amounts of methane. Methane is 21 times more potent of a GHG than CO2.

» Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers used in industrial farming off-gas nitrous oxide, which is 310 times stronger than CO2 as a GHG.

» As oceans become more acidic from GHG retention, a life-sustaining planet needs to rely increasingly on soil to function as its “kidneys,” sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere. Industrial food, with its heavy reliance on herbicides, changes the microbial balance of soil, and mono-cropping doesn’t allow soil to replenish.

How do we slow down this runaway train?

The first step is to restrict and regulate the actions of large corporations through the political process. Industrial food consists of the world’s largest companies driven to further their profit agenda through international trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership while externalizing their costs onto the communities in which they operate.

The industrial food complex claims the mantra of “feeding the world.” But according to the IAASTD, the traditional food web feeds the 2 billion people at the bottom of the economic ladder almost exclusively with no help from industrial food.

Bottom line: We need to counteract the misinformation put out by the multinational corporations, weed out the politicians working for industrial food, and elect leaders who will implement the more resource-conscious policies of traditional food systems.

Experts estimate it will take 50 years to restore natural soil content to pre-industrial farming levels, thus reducing GHG emissions by 23-30 percent.

It will take bold community action to start this reversal and reinvigorate inspired political leadership. We are hopeful. We believe Hawaii has already begun to turn the tide in that direction. And, like many people across these islands, we believe that if any community is up for this challenge, it is ours.

Gary Hooser, President Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action
Simon Russell, Vice President, Legislative Chair Hawaii Farmers Union United

Published in Honolulu StarAdvertiser July 2, 2014

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2014 Kauai Council Elections – My Reelection Bid

Aloha,

Serving the people of Kauai as a member of the Kauai County Council is an honor and a privilege for which I am grateful. Yes, I would like to be reelected and will be campaigning hard to make that happen. However to be clear, this election promises to be one of the most challenging ever and I need all the help I can get to be successful.

If you are pleased with the service I have provided to you and to Kauai County, I ask for your help once again to continue the work.

You know I do my homework and that I am not afraid to take on the tough issues. You also know I have little patience for government incompetence or the wasting of public money and resources. And I hope you know, that my door is always open and if I can help, I will.

Today, in the spirit of grassroots democracy I am seeking campaign contributions of $100 or less. If I am able to raise at least $3,000 in small contributions prior to the end of the day on Monday, June 30th, I will then be able to have this amount matched by public funds in time to impact the Primary election on August 9.

If you can be one of 30 people to help with a contribution today of $100 that would be immensely helpful. Any contribution no matter how small is welcome and needed. Online contributions are the easiest and can be made at http://www.garyhooser.com/donate.php or checks can be mailed to Friends of Gary Hooser, 5685 Ohelo Road, Kapaa Hawaii 96746.

Because of the nature of this email, I apologize if you receive duplicates. Also, if you have already given, please know that your help is appreciated and much needed.

As always if you have questions on issues, would like to better understand my rationale on any particular vote, or share with me your perspective on any issue – please just call.

 Sincerely, gh

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Be The Change – Defend Kauai And All Hawaii

I am writing you today as President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), with an urgent request for your financial support of the “Campaign to Defend Hawaii’s Future”.

HAPA is a new 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to action and advocacy that puts the needs of people and the environment above the agenda of large corporations. HAPA is committed to revitalizing and supporting grassroots democracy, and is a movement conceived on Kauaʻi and born from the experience of the community’s effort to assert its values and guide its future.

Kauaʻi is “ground zero” for a small group of international chemical companies that apply large quantities of dangerous “restricted use” pesticides near Kauaʻi homes, schools, hospitals and streams. In response to community concerns, the Kauaʻi County Council passed Bill 2491 (now Ordinance 960) last year. This new law establishes pesticide-free buffer zones and requires large users of pesticides to publicly disclose their use.

Rather than comply, the chemical companies filed a lawsuit in federal court and began aggressively lobbying at the State legislature to take away our County authority. On June 9, law suits were also filed against Hawaii County attempting to strike down their recently passed ordinance as well.  Now these companies are targeting the 2014 State and County elections.

We are determined to fight back. HAPA, in alliance with other public interest groups, is committed to defending Kauaʻi and all Hawaiʻi from the harmful actions of these companies. HAPA is committed to a solutions-based vision that includes food self-sufficiency, valuing health and environment above corporate profits, and most importantly, fostering a community engaged in its own governance.

Your help today and prior to June 18th is critically important. Please visit www.HAPAhi.org and contribute to the “Campaign to Defend Hawaii’s Future”. Your donation will be used for the nuts and bolts of building a movement plus the core actions involving communication, education and legal defense.

Please, we can prove that grassroots democracy works, we can preserve and expand our gains and we can set an example for communities everywhere – but to do so your support is needed now.

Sincerely,

Gary Hooser*

President, Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action

www.hawaiiallianceforprogressiveaction.com

The Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) is a non-profit organization incorporated in Hawaiʻi on March 31, 2014. HAPA’s application for IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is currently pending. Be advised that any contribution is not tax deductible until and unless such recognition is obtained. HAPA will notify all contributors of the IRS’s decision.

 *HAPA is not engaged in any lobbying activity before the Kauaʻi County Council nor any government body. Gary Hooser serves as the President of HAPA in a volunteer capacity.

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Statewide Coalition Launches Non-Profit Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA)

Aloha Friends,

It is with a renewed sense of resolve and commitment that we announce the formation of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA).  It is my hope and the goal of our diverse Board of Directors that HAPA will play a major role in helping to nurture and protect the people and the environment of Kauai and our entire State in the months and years ahead.   Please read the information below and visit our website to find-out more http://www.hawaiiallianceforprogressiveaction.org

If you can help with a contribution for the “Campaign to Defend Hawaii’s Future” and or if you are interested in joining the movement by joining HAPA, please do so.  To be successful we need your support and help.

**The three main foci for HAPA are:
1. Revitalize and support grassroots democracy through action and advocacy (“Take Back Government”)
2. Community and environment over corporate agenda (“People over Profits”)
3. Local solutions to global challenges (“Think Global, Act Local”)

Statewide Coalition Launches Non-Profit Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA):
“Critical time to build on successes of the past year”

(LIHUE) – Leaders from around the State of Hawaiʻi have joined to form a new 501(c)(3) non-profit that builds on the recent successes of local communities against trans-national chemical corporations operating in the islands.

The Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) is a Kauaʻi-based, statewide organization. “HAPA is committed to a solutions-based vision that values health and the environment above corporate profits, and most importantly, fostering grassroots democracy and community engagement in local governance,” said HAPA Board President and Kauaʻi County Council Member Gary Hooser.  “We are at a critical point in time, with both corporate influence over politics as well as citizen discontent and engagement at all-time highs. HAPA is an action-oriented organization that believes we must act now to preserve and leverage recent successes for democracy, social justice and long-term sustainability. Now is our opportunity for residents across the State to claim their government, participation and power.”

HAPA’s first action is to launch its “Campaign to Protect Hawaii’s Future”.  This campaign focuses on defending the islands from efforts by a small group of international chemical companies to undo protections gained through local legislation such as Kauai’s Bill 2491/Ordinance 960.  “Rather than comply with our laws, these companies are suing our County for the right to spray poisons next to Kauai’s schools.  They are lobbying at the State level to take away the counties’ powers.  However, the people of Hawaii are energized and determined to fight back, and HAPA is determined to help them,” said Hooser.

HAPA launched its initial fundraising drive to support its campaign. Donations will go to support citizens’ initiatives that are defending against marketing campaigns, lobbying and lawsuits by the chemical companies. HAPA seeks to fund its programs through grassroots outreach and support from likeminded people from all walks of life.  HAPA invites residents from around Hawaiʻi to get involved, donate, and join the movement at www.HAPAhi.org.*

“HAPA has a diverse Board of Directors whose composition is a reflection of the rainbow of cultures that make up our State,” said HAPA Board Member Aria Juliet Castillo. “Our Board members come from every County, with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise, but all hold a strong commitment to support grassroots democracy and core progressive values.”  Founding Board of Directors includes: Paul Achitoff, Andrea N. Brower, Aria Juliet Castillo, Malia K. Chun, Bart Dame, Laura Harrelson, Gary Hooser, Ikaika M. Hussey, Bianca K. Isaki, Lorilani Keohokālole-Torio,  Katie McMillan, Joshua Mori, Walter Ritte Jr., Karen Shishido, and Cade Watanabe.

HAPA is not engaged in any lobbying activity before the Kauaʻi County Council nor any government body.  Gary Hooser serves as the President of HAPA in a volunteer capacity.  Additional information can be found at www.HAPAhi.org.

 

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Kauai, the chemical companies, and the little island that could

This is probably the best, most comprehensive summary of the origins and present status of the Bill 2491 saga. If you are curious about who I am, why/how Bill 2491 came about and how the chemical companies are fighting us on Kauai then watch this video and share with your friends who also might be interested.

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Dylan Hooser Enters Race For State House Seat

In case you have not heard, my son Dylan has entered the race for election to the Hawaii State House District 15 (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi and Omao).

Needless to say, I am proud of my son and of his willingness to take this step. Putting your name and your life out in public view as a candidate for public office is a huge commitment.

When asked recently how he would differentiate himself from me – Dylan responded simply, “There is no way around it, I am my fathers’ son”. He went on to expound on how he was his own person, but was clear and upfront that the core values held by his father were his core values as well.

Dylan was born and raised on Kauai, and grew up in a family that eats and dreams grassroots democratic values. It is only natural that he shares those values and is drawn toward working and fighting to protect them.

Yes, he is his fathers’ son but he is also very much his own man. As a small child Dylan was hyper-independent. While a thoughtful and caring child, he always had a “question authority” attitude and a tendency to push back against the people and institutions who attempted to restrain his independent spirit.

As a young adult he has become increasingly aware of the growing injustice in the world and of his personal responsibility to push back against that injustice and to help shape a more positive future for his yet to be born children.

Dylan is running against an incumbent whose core values differ significantly.

Dylan has always been a Democrat – the incumbent was an active member of the Republican Party and switched to be a Democrat in order to be appointed to his present position.

Dylan supports equality for all – the incumbent voted No against marriage equality.

Dylan supports protecting the environment – the incumbent voted Yes and was the chief spokesperson in the State House of Representatives in support of the failed Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC).

Dylan is a strong supporter of the rights of local government – the incumbent sponsored a Bill to preempt and take away the rights of local government to protect its residents.

Dylan supports living wage legislation – the incumbent supports weakening the minimum wage proposal by increasing tip credits and opposing CPI indexing.

Dylan supports labeling of GMO foods – the incumbent has fought hard against allowing consumers the right to choose.

Dylan can win but your help is needed. Please visit http://www.dylanhooser.org and make a donation today to the Friends of Dylan Hooser. Contributions of any amount, from $25 to the maximum allowable $2,000 are welcome and much needed – and can be made here: http://dylanhooser.org/donate/. Or mailed to: Friends of Dylan Hooser, P.O. 1007, Lihue HI 96766

The incumbent is starting this race with a large monetary advantage and Dylan could really use your help now in order to catch up and kick the campaign into high gear immediately.

Mahalo in advance for any help and support you can offer.

Gary Hooser

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Reading SB2777 – Another attempt to preempt and weaken local authority

For those that are interested: Here is my analysis of that portion of SB2777 that results in the preemption of the County authority to regulate agriculture.

Hearing is scheduled for Thursday Feb. 27.  Please submit testimony in opposition to YOUR SENATOR  first and then to the committee (all info is on hearing notice that can be found here: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2777&year=2014 )

How to read SB2777: Below is the key paragraph that impacts the County authority to regulate agriculture and would nullify the Kauai and Hawaii County pesticide/gmo ordinances. In bold are the changes to existing law that are proposed in SB2777 to be ADDED or DELETED.  All other text represents existing law.  ( ) means deletion and underline means addition of language.

SECTION 2. Section 205-5,Hawaii Revised Statutes,is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:”(b) Within agricultural districts,uses (compatible to the activities DELETED)described in section 205-2 (as determined by the commission DELETED)shall be permitted without further limitations or restrictions ADDED;provided that accessory agricultural uses and services as(described DELETED)identified ADDED in sections 205-2 and 205-4.5 may be further defined by each county by zoning ordinance.

My NOTES:

Section 205-5 is the section of State law being amended. This section deals with County Authority with regards to zoning and land use
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol04_Ch0201-0257/HRS0205/HRS_0205-0005.htm

The changes if approved would result in the law saying this “(b) Within agricultural districts, uses described in section 205-2 shall be permitted without further limitations or restrictions ;provided that accessory agricultural uses and services as identified in sections 205-2 and 205-4.5 may be further defined by each county by zoning ordinance.

BOTTOM LINE:
SB2777 in effect says all agricultural uses of agricultural land described within 205-2 shall be allowed without any restrictions from County government (or anyone).

Laws by definition are “restrictions and limitations”.  The legal impact of SB2777 is that the County may not limit any agricultural use defined in 205-2 which means the passage of SB2777 would nullify both the Kauai and the Hawaii County ordinances regulating pesticide and GMO use.

Existing law also says that the County may by zoning ordinance further define accessory agricultural uses and services as identified.

This provision in the law that already exists at first glance offers some comfort, however is contradictory to the provision being added that specifies “without further limitations or restrictions”.

It is important to note that “zoning ordinances” are much more difficult to pass than a standard ordinance.  In Kauai County, zoning ordinances must pass through the planning commission before the Council can pass them into law.

To say that the County may not limit or restrict agriculture but then say the County may “further define accessory agricultural uses and services as identified” is vague and ambiguous.  It appears that these uses and services can be further defined but only in a manner that does not limit or restrict their activity.  In addition, it seems that there no definition or use of the words “accessory agricultural uses and services” within the existing 205-2 and 205-4.5 law.

“sections 205-2″ are here:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol04_Ch0201-0257/HRS0205/HRS_0205-0002.htm

“sections 205-4.5″ are here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol04_Ch0201-0257/HRS0205/HRS_0205-0004_0005.htm

Another Bad Bill – Please oppose

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