Join Mana March to Support Bill 2491
“Mana March” begins at noon Sunday Sept. 8 at Vidinha Stadium, Lihue
Thousand of doctors, nurses, farmers, beekeepers, labor unions, parents, teachers, environmentalists, surfers, local business owners and concerned community members will march through Lihue, Kauai beginning at noon Sunday Sept. 8 at Vidinha Stadium in a show of solidarity and support for Kauai County Council Bill 2491 related to pesticides and GMOs. The “Mana March” is expected to be the largest public march in Kauai history.
The march will take place one day before the Kauai County Council reconvenes to discuss the bill, which would require disclosure by the five agricultural companies that use 98% of Restricted-Use Pesticides on the island.
The event will begin with a pule at 11:30 a.m. Marchers will walk down Hoolako Street, turning right on Rice Street, continuing to the Historic Kauai County Building. A rally, including music by Makana, John Cruz, Kepa Kruse and Shilo Pa will follow from 2 to 6 p.m. on the County Building lawn.
A media tent will be available at Vidinha Stadium from 11 to 11:45am, and starting at 1:30pm at the County Building lawn, following the march.
Four of the world’s largest chemical corporations currently use some of Kauai’s best agricultural lands to test their new pesticide and GMO technologies. Kauai residents are concerned about the impacts of this industry on the island, and through “Right to Know” Bill 2491 are seeking basic information to ensure that the community is protected.
Bill 2491 would also establish buffer zones between pesticide application and schools, hospitals, residential areas and waterways, mandate that a health and environmental study be conducted to better understand the impacts of the agro-chemical/GMO industry on the island, and put a temporary halt on expansion of the industry while the study is being conducted.
Westside taro farmer and retired fire captain John Aana says he and other concerned residents are marching because, “Our residents are suffering from health problems, our land and waters are being contaminated, leaving a wasted environment for our grandchildren.”
The medical community has expressed overwhelming support for Bill 2491, with many doctors and nurses coming forward with concerns about illnesses that appear noticeably higher in communities living near agro-chemical/GMO operations.
Dr. Lee Evslin, a pediatrician and retired CEO of Wilcox Memorial Hospital and Kauai Medical Clinic, says that “Research shows pesticide links to delays in neurological development, endocrine abnormalities, behavioral issues and an increase in childhood cancers such as leukemia. Why wouldn’t you have buffers around schools? Why wouldn’t you have knowledge about what’s being sprayed?”
Felicia Villalobos, Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) Kauai Chapter Vice-President says that, “Teachers believe that it is critical that students learn in schools that are free from the effects of proven biological hazards that cause harm to children and adults. This is a collective policy that has been abetted by both the National Educational Association (NEA) and the Hawaii State Teachers Association members.”
Dr. Carl Berg of Surfrider Foundation expresses concern that, “Atrazine, other pesticides and surfactants have been found in streams and nearshore waters even though best management practices were supposedly used. No more should contaminate our waters. We need full disclosure to study the impacts these chemicals are having on our soil, water and wildlife.”
Hoku Cabebe says, “I am marching because as a mother I’m concerned about the safety of my child, and as a Hawaiian I’m concerned about the safety of the `aina.”
Local farmers and beekeepers also strongly support Bill 2491. Louisa Wooton of Kauai Kunana Dairy says that, “As farmers, we know how important healthy soil is to our island’s long-term food security and economic well-being. We are also very concerned that bees, which are critical to the food supply, are being affected by these pesticides. As an organic farm inspector, I have seen first-hand beekeepers in the State lose their ability to sell certified organic honey because their forage areas have been compromised by neighboring GMO fields.”
Stephanie Krieger, owner of Nani Moon Meadery, says, “As a small business that relies on both local fruit and honey products and a strong visitor economy, I will be marching with other business owners in strong support of Bill 2491. Visitors who come in to my store are in disbelief about pesticide use on the island, and many people have continued to email me about their concerns even after leaving the island.”
The Hawaii Nurses Association, Local 5 Hawaii, the HSTA and the Hawaii Farmers Union have all endorsed Bill 2491. Local 5 said in a statement, “As a labor organization, we understand the importance of protecting good jobs for our local people. We also recognize that we need to take control of our health and the long-term economic sustainability of our communities. Hawaii is our home, and it can be a place for us to continue to work, play and raise our families.”
Dustin Barca, pro-surfer, pro-fighter and director of `Ohana o Kauai said, “We are marching because the time is now to make positive changes for the future health of our children and natural resources.”