Category Archives: GMOs

Those Opposed to GMO’s in Hawaii

 

Below are articles from those who are anti-GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

http://occupy-monsanto.com/tag/gmo-free-hawaii/

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Big Island Chronicle: Island Dairy Uses GMO Corn

Posted: October 1st, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


big island no gmo e1349184860515 Big Island Chronicle: Island Dairy Uses GMO Corn University of Hawaii at Manoa toxicity Toxic sweet corn studies Steve Whitesides Soil Silage Scott Enright scientists RoundUp Puna pollen Pioneer Hi Bred Pepe‘ekeo papaya Ookala Non GMO Nancy Redfeather Milk Loeffler Farms livestock Kona Coffee Kauai kalo Joël Spiroux de Vendômois Institute for Responsible Technology Honokaa Peoples Theater Hilo HI Hawaii Hamakua grain GMO Free Hawaii GM papaya GM Crops GM Corn Glyphosate Gilles Eric Séralinis Genetic Roulette François Roullier European Journal of Agronomy elephant grass Eden Peart Dr. Robert Kremer Dr. James Brubaker Dominique Cellier Dominic Yagong DNA Cows Bt toxin BT Big Island Dairy Big Island Belt Road bacteria bacillus thuringiensis Atrazine

Island Dairy Uses GMO Corn

By Alan D. McNarie, October 1, 2012 – The Big Island Chronicle

There’s a new crop growing in O‘okala and Pepe‘ekeo on the North Hilo/Hamakua coast—well, a new crop for the Big Island, anyway. Big Island Dairy, formerly Island Dairy, has planted field corn in O‘okala and Pepe‘eke‘o to help feed its cows. The corn will be fed as ensilage—“silage” as most farmers call it: green stalks that are cut, chopped and stored in a low-oxygen environment so that they ferment in a process similar to the making of sauerkraut. The silage is one solution to a problem that plagues all livestock farmers in Hawai‘i: the high cost of imported feed. Since the islands grow little grain, farmers are forced to rely on Matson and Young Brothers to bring in feed from outside, often at ruinous prices. The home-grown silage could be a major aid in the survival of one of the state’s only two remaining dairies.

But the new crop has still become a matter of concern for some local residents and farmers, because of one fact: Big Island Dairy is growing genetically modified corn.

The corn was already in the ground when the dairy was recently purchased by Steve Whitesides, who also runs Whitesides Dairy in Rupert, Idaho. But the reason that the GM varieties were planted, Whitesides says, is simple: “The way crops grow there, if you don’t have something planted that can control the weeds, they can overtake it.”

Whitesides didn’t specify what varieties of corn were being grown, but given that weed control is the object, the corn is probably one or more of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” varieties. Monsanto has long touted both the GM corn and the herbicide Roundup, which is also makes, as safe. But in recent years, some studies have begun to challenge that assumption. And the company has drawn fire for its heavy-handed tactics in dealing with farmers—it’s sued farmers, for instance, for patent infringement when pollen from GM crops drifted into non-GM farmer’s fields. The company has also been accused of tampering with science and with the agencies that regulate it.

GM crops have generated negative publicity in the islands, as well. Pioneer Hi-Bred, for instance, is currently battling lawsuits filed by two groups of plaintiffs—one suit represents over 200 people—who claim that the company has not controlled spray drift and pesticide-contaminated dust from its GM test crop sites on Kauai. Some farmers and residents in Puna are still smarting from the state’s oft-bungled handling of GM papayas, originally developed by Cornell and UH-Manoa to fight papaya ringspot virus; small farmers claimed that the state’s “quarantine zones” set up to create a “sea of GM papayas,” isolating and protecting a few fields of non-GMO papaya for the Japanese market, discriminated against small farmers in favor of a few large export companies; organic farmers complained that their papayas have been contaminated that pollen drift from GM fields, and the GM papayas, though resistant to ringspot, have proved especially vulnerable to a fungal disease, forcing some farmers to periodically abandon their fields anyway. Native Hawaiians have taken offense at attempts to create GM versions of their beloved kalo, and Kona Coffee farmers have resisted attempts to introduce GM coffee.

That resentment boiled to a head in Honoka‘a on September 17, when a group called GMO-Free Hawai‘i sponsored a rally and reggae concert at the Honoka‘a People’s theater. The main target was Monsanto—the event was part of a world-wide “Occupy Monsanto Day”—but Big Island Dairy got some attention, too. Councilman Dominic Yagong introduced Scott Enright, the state Agriculture Department official who said he’d been “Charged by the Governor to assist Big Island Dairy.”

“He [Whitesides] is looking for varieties that will do well here,” said Enright. “He’s going to be doing his best to grow corn conventionally.”

But that clearly wasn’t enough assurance for the crowd. GMO-Free Hawai‘i spokesperson Eden Peart noted that the Hamakua Agricultural Plan “prohibits” GM crops in the district (Actually, it doesn’t prohibit them outright, but it does call for a moratorium on those crops until their possible impacts could be better assessed.)

“If there’s still GMO grown here, blowing pollen in the wind, that is a concern for us,” she said, and announced that protestors would be demonstrating along the Belt Road beside one of the dairy’s O’okala fields on Friday, September 21.

Yagong, in whose district the corn is growing, told Big Island Chronicle he shared some of the community’s concerns about GMOs with Whitesides.

Yagong had already approached Whitesides about the issue. In addition to the kalo and coffee controversies, he told the Chronicle, he had “Shared that in the leasing of [county owned] Hamakua lands, one of the conditions for leasing was no planting of GMO crops on county lands.” Yagong noted that the county’s farm lands and Island Dairy’s O‘okala corn fields were “practically neighbors.” Yagong said Whitesides would “strongly consider the community’s recommendations” but “fell short of saying that they wouldn’t grow GMO corn.”

Whitesides’ response to the Chronicle was similar. He made no commitment to replace the GMO corn with conventional varieties. But he did say his company planned to experiment with conventional varieties to “see if they could be grown at a cost that would still keep the dairy’s output competitive with mainland milk. “

He noted that 80 t0 90 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., now, was genetically modified. Even if his company did continue to grow GM corn, he said, “The product that’s coming over here from the mainland is GMO, so what’s the difference?”

How much of a difference genetically modified corn makes is very much a matter of debate. Dr. James Brubaker, the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s acknowledged authority on corn, maintains that the GM corn is perfectly safe; that the only difference between it an conventional corn was “A little piece of DNA which is very benign and only affects weeds.” He compared GMO opponents to the Creationist movement. “This is the scientific ignorance that we do face in the state of Hawai‘i,” he told BIC. “We don’t come equipped with a realistic appraisal of the achievements of science, so we’re frightened of anything scientific.” He noted that around a thousand scientific papers a year are devoted to GMOs, and that nearly a billion acres of GM corn had been raised: “We know that these are incredibly safe.”

The problem is that not all of science is in agreement with Brubaker’s assessment—and that scientific papers critical of GMOs find an instant and persistent world-wide audience. The Web is awash with stories and blogs citing those articles, but often with no direct documentation or links, and often at Web sites that make no pretense of being unbiased—sites with names like treehugger.com and naturalnews.com. A site called responsibletechnology.org,, for instance, which proclaims itself “the most comprehensive source of GMO health risk information on the Web,” ran an article entitled “65 Health Risks from GMO food,” with factoids such as “More than 20 farmers in North America report that pigs fed GM corn varieties had low conception rates, false pregnancies or gave birth to bags of water.” But the story gives no links or sources for any of its allegations.

Many of those factoids flying around the Web, however, are based on actual scientific articles that do seem to raise some basis for concern. In 2009, for instance, the International Journal of Biological Sciences published an article entitled “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health “ by Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, François Roullier, Dominique Cellier, Gilles-Eric Séralinis, four well-credentialed scientists from French universities. The study fed three varieties of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, including one of the Roundup Ready varieties and two containing genes from a bacteria, bacillus thuringiensis (BT), that is used as a natural insecticide. The French scientists found that rats fed the corn suffered from various symptoms, including higher liver and kidney toxicity levels and enlarged spleens and hearts.

“Our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity,” concluded the article, which called for longer term studies of the three varieties.

But Brubaker said that there were already studies out refuting the French study. “[With] almost any report of that sort, you can be assured there will be immediately responding research studies to validate or invalidate it,” he noted.

There have also been scientific studies that questioned the safety of Roundup itself—and scientists who’ve gone public about their concerns. One of them is Dr. Robert Kremer of the University of Missouri—Monsanto’s home state—who has done extensive studies of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, since 1997. Glyphosate doesn’t kill weeds directly; it inhibits their ability to absorb certain nutrients, making them fatally susceptible to naturally occurring bacteria and fungi. As it turns out, Kremer discovered, glyphosate also makes crops more susceptible to diseases such as fusarium and to the toxins they produce, which can also affect animals and humans who consume those crops. And it can be toxic to some beneficial bacteria, including the ones that live in the roots of soybeans and other legumes and “fix” nitrogen in the soil—a vital function for maintaining soil fertility. Glyphosate, Kremer concluded, “is altering the whole soil biology.”

Kremer is not alone. In a 2009 article in the European Journal of Agronomy, Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue University, and Purdue botanist G. S. Johal, warned that widespread glyphosate use could “significantly increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and diseases, and immobilize soil and plant nutrients rendering them unavailable for plant use.” Huber has also approached the USDA with concerns about a previously unknown microorganism that has appeared in GM-based animal feeds and appears to be linked to an epidemic of livestock infertility and miscarriages.

An interviewer at the Web site nongmoreport.com asked Kremer if glyphosate was environmentally benign.

“Absolutely not,” he replied. “Glyphosate is the single most important agronomic factor predisposing some plants to both disease and toxins. These toxins can produce a serious impact on the health of animals and humans…. Toxins produced can infect the roots and head of the plant and be transferred to the rest of the plant. The toxin levels in straw can be high enough to make cattle and pigs infertile.”

Huber was among the many scientists, including agronomists, plant pathologists, veterinarians, nutritionists, pediatricians and medical doctors, featured in the documentary “Genetic Roulette,” which screened at the Honoka‘a rally before the musicians came on. Those researchers raised a host of apparent human and animal health problems, from infertility to cancer. The scientists also brought up problems in humans exposed to the GM crops/and or Roundup.

Some of the scientists also talked about pressure exerted on them, up to and including firing, by Monsanto, public officials and their peers. One Oregon researcher, for instance, talked about releasing a study critical of GMOs, then getting a call from the former president of her university, questioning whether she “belonged” at the school.

Caught in the crossfire of these scientific barrages and counter-barrages are companies like Big Island Dairy, who just want to give their corn a fighting chance against weeds such as elephant grass, which can quickly grow much higher than the corn.

“The weeds that we have are entirely different for the middle of IA, and they grow much more aggressively,” notes Brubaker, who also points out that some of those weeds themselves contain toxins that can harm cattle.

There are, in fact, non-GM varieties of corn bred specifically for Hawaii—Brubaker himself developed some of them—and it is possible to raise non-GM corn on the North Hilo/Hamakua Coast. Brubaker notes that Loeffler Farms, for instance, grows one of his conventional sweet corn varieties on that coast. But according to Brubaker, even the conventional corn may require chemical assistance from pesticides such as Atrazine, which have their own environmental consequences; they may get into groundwater if improperly applied, so they must be applied by a state-certified specialist—an additional cost for the farmer.

How the GM corn could affect those existing sweet corn crops is another issue. Corn for silage is cut green, but after the corn has tasseled—which means that pollen from it could get to other plants.

“That corn can cross with people’s sweet corn, and do people want those genes in their corn? Probably not,” local natural farming advocate Nancy Redfeather told BIC. She noted that bees carrying pollen could travel up to seven miles a day.

But aside from the dairy, GM corn is already on Hawai‘i Island, in thousands of food products imported daily. If you drink non-organic milk, whether it’s from the mainland or it’s from local cows fed with imported feed, you’re probably drinking milk from cows that have eaten GMOs. The only possible change would be if Island Dairy managed to grow conventional corn.

That’s the outcome Yagong hopes for. He notes that the number of dairies in the state has now shrunk from 24 to two, and he thinks it’s important to support the two that remain.

“I think that would make a lot of people very, very happy and may even distinguish his product further if they knew that the milk was GMO free and fed from conventional corn,” he says.


Source: Big Island Chronicle

Hawaii Tribune Herald: GMO corn grower spurs protest

Posted: September 24th, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


big island no gmo e1349184860515 Hawaii Tribune Herald: GMO corn grower spurs protest   Soil Russell Kokubun Ookala Marva Joy Bennett livestock jatropha Idaho HI Hawaii Tribune Herald Hawaii Hamakua Agriculture Plan Hamakua GMO Free Hawaii GMO Corn gmo GE Foods Eden Peart Dominic Yagong dairyman Cloverleaf Dairy cake biofuel Big Island Dairy Big Island Bahman Sadeghi algae

GMO corn grower spurs protest

By John Burnett, Tribune-Herald staff writer

An Idaho dairyman who bought the largest dairy in the state is growing genetically modified corn on state leasehold land in Hamakua, and a number of residents are upset about it, saying it violates the Hamakua Agriculture Plan.

County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said Saturday that he has spoken to Big Island Dairy LLC owner Steve Whitesides, and that Whitesides “has been upfront” about growing GMO corn as feedstock on about 700 acres of land near Ookala.

“He said that if they were not to grow GMO corn but instead went to the feed store to buy feed that the corn in that bag would be GMO corn,” Yagong said Saturday morning while talking to about 20 protesters who lined both sides of Highway 19 by the cornfield at the 30-mile marker. Yagong, who represents Hamakua, said he was also told by Whitesides that GMO corn was already being grown on the site by the previous owner when he acquired the lease.

Whitesides bought the former Island Dairy Inc. from Bahman Sadeghi for $13 million late last year. The land is part of 2,081 acres Island Dairy signed a 35-year-lease on in 1998 and which Whitesides’ company assumed in November. Reports at the time of the purchase said Island Dairy had a herd of 900 milking cows.

“We’ve talked to each other on a number of occasions,” Yagong said. “He’s been gracious and has shown a willingness to sit down and talk, so I’m gonna facilitate some of the community members and Mr. Whitesides and give them an opportunity to express their concerns with regards to the planting of GMO corn here in Hamakua. … I told him that we have deep soil here in Hamakua and that he has the option to grow conventional corn and, I think, get the kind of yield that you do need.”

The protest was organized by GMO Free Hawaii as part of the “Occupy Monsanto Global Week of Action,” said farmer and anti-GMO activist Eden Peart, who called the cornfield “a genetic crime scene” and said that GMO crops could post health risks.

“Around the world, people are documenting genetic crime scenes, and we’ve got one here in Ookala. Big Island Dairy is growing GMO corn here in defiance of the Hamakua Ag Plan and it has to stop right away,” she said. One stated objective of the county-commissioned plan, which was completed by May 2006 but has not become law, is to “avoid contamination of crops, seed supplies, public lands, and native ecosystems by GMOs.”

Protesters held up signs for passing motorists with slogans such as “no GMO” and “GMO = poison milk (and) poison ‘aina.”

“I agree with everything they say,” said 87-year-old Marva Joy Bennett, who grew up on a small dairy farm in Utah. She held up a sign that stated: “We fed our cows hay not GMO corn.”

State Department of Agriculture Chairman Russell Kokubun, whose department administers the lease on the Ookala land, confirmed Sunday that the corn being grown there is a genetically modified strain for cattle feed.

“Yes, we need to be careful about what’s growing here and all, but I think we also need to be open minded and basing our decisions on science, in terms of what’s good for the land as well as the livestock,” Kokubun said.

He that the state “does not get into specifics” about crops grown on state-leased ag lands.

“Usually, the lessees come in with a farm plan on what they intend to grow, but for us, as long as it’s by a bona fide farmer to grow agricultural crops, we don’t get into what you can or cannot grow.”

“There are only, like, two major dairies left in the state,” Kokubun continued, referring to Big Island Dairy and Cloverleaf Dairy, which is also a Big Island agribusiness. “One of the real issues for them, and for any protein producer, actually, or livestock producer, is the cost of feed. … It’s the high cost of feed is amongst the major causes of livestock producers giving up. So the idea of us being able to produce our livestock feed is one of the keys to insuring that our livestock industry will be able to continue here.”

Asked if he believes the only way that could be accomplished is by genetically modified crops, Kokubun replied: “No, we’re open to all ideas.”

“One of the big things now is a byproduct of biofuel development with algae or jatropha,” he said. “… Once you extract the oil, the residue — it’s called cake — is very high in protein. So we think that’s going to be a boon for our livestock feed in the future.”


Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

Say No to Monsanto Dance Concert with Marty Dread – 9/17, 4-10pm, Honokaa, Hawaii

Posted: September 10th, 2012 | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , |


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Please send it with a short description to Incident@Occupy-Monsanto.com

Genetically Modified Papaya in Hawaii

This is an article from those pro GMO’s in Hawaii.

http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/grocery_shopping/fruit_vegetables/14.genetically_modified_papayas_virus_resistance.html

 

Fruit and Vegetables

Papayas


Papayas are grown in many tropical countries. But papaya cultivation is being threatened by Papaya Ringspot-Virus, a disease that is sharply lowering yields. 

Bild vergrößern

Since 1998, genetically modified papayas have been cultivated in Hawaii, USA. They are resistant to a domestic viral disease. In the EU, genetically modified papayas are not approved.

Cultivation of virus resistant papayas in Hawaii: On the left, rows of conventional papaya trees infested with the Ringspot Virus. On the right, genetically modified virus-resistant plants of the variety “Rainbow” . Photo: Dennis Gonsalves*

In the late 1980s, the University of Hawaii began developing a papaya cultivar resistant to Papaya Ringspot Virus. To do this, certain viral genes encoding  capsid proteins were transferred to the papaya genome. These viral capsid proteins elicit something similar to an “immune response” from the papaya plant. These new, genetically modified papaya plants are no longer susceptible to infection, allowing farmers to cultivate the fruit even when the virus is widespread.

The first virus resistant papayas were commercially grown in Hawaii in 1999. Transgenic papayas now cover about one thousand hectares, or three quarters of the total Hawaiian papaya crop.

Genetically modified papayas are approved for consumption both in the US and in Canada. Several Asian countries are currently developing transgenic papaya varieties resistant to local viral strains.

At this point, GM papayas are not approved in the EU. Until now, no application for approval has been submitted. Therefore, importing and marketing genetically modified papayas is not permitted in the EU.

Attending Rotary meeting and learning about GMOs in Hawaii

 

I attended a Rotary breakfast this morning which featured a speaker talking about genetically modified organisms, commonly known as GMO’s.   For me the fundamental issue is intent behind action.  People engaged in the biotech area are in there being paid, of course there is passion and discovery and I am sure it is exciting for Scientists splicing genes and seeing plants fight off the enemy in a pathogen or virus.   As a peacemaker I can see the war on nature in this and in truth, the war against ourselves.  I feel it is a war we cannot win by fighting.  We can only learn to live in harmony with universal laws and through our own cultivation of peace and balance, the answers will naturally drop into our laps.  It will happen with intention = balance = true nature.  In my view.

This morning’s discussion on GMO’s takes my mind to feel for the whole ecosystem and our ignorance of the billions of iterations that make up a highly complex system perfected through natural selection for 4 billion years.  I see human existence as 1 minute to midnight and intellectual ability as one second to midnight.  However, I have to say in our arrogance we think we know it all, I have included myself in that.  We get confident as we accumulate degrees and we get less debate as people do tend to believe the experts and not their gut feeling.  I notice a trend where we follow the rules and we see this as justification of what we perceive as right or wrong behaviour.  When it comes to nature and tipping points I am not interested in the rules so much as guides for wisdom, I am interested in intent.  Intent tells me the prevailing focus of a person/organisations behaviour.  If money is the motive and expanding market share then the intent is self interest over best interest.  It could be marketed as best interest and emotions manipulated so that it is seen as a moral standard, but when you look deeply into your own feeling, in my case I see we are out of step with nature, indeed we are disconnected from the natural world.

We do not grow up with nature, most of us, we have no idea of growing season, the winds, the rain, the soils etc.  My friend has Cherokee indian background and she told me she loved the soil, she felt the depth of its richness.  Her heritage gave her an awareness of the oneness with the land.  Whilst she may not live on the land now, she is aware to some extent.  I feel the indigenous were experts and really felt the land intimately as their own body.  You get that sense in meditation as you cultivate an ability to be aware of your own inner body you start to see the body of the planet as your body, it is an interesting feeling.  Thus responsibility expands from the small self to the greater self of life.  This is a hard concept for business people or scientists to grasp as their world is the laboratory, the office, the newspaper and media coverage.  They cannot feel the nature around them as they are simply not aware.  Does that make them bad people, no, many in my view are ignorant.  They simply do not see it.

So when the discussion was on genetic engineering of papaya, a highly emotional topic, as it is the main industry in Hawaii and the combating of the ring spot virus, this genetic modification is seen as success.  My mind travels the world to a holistic system and I wonder at the reason why the virus turned up, what conditions changed?  What are the implications of protecting a mono crop, what of the other species not only on the island but how this change affects greater change.  A little like the butterfly effect of flapping its wings in one part, an earthquake happening in another.  This theory works on the idea that all is interconnected, not unlike your body.  We see what antibiotics are doing, at first a great break through combating disease like it is a war.  Then we find more resistant strands emerging and the problem worsens.  Even in health care we never look at the emotions, the history etc. In Chinese medicine it can go back generations and is treated with acupuncture or healthy herbs.  In modern medicines it is quite brutal in the nuclear medicines used and how the affects of medicines can often be worse than the actual problem.  I see genetics in the same light but for me they are more like a nuclear time bomb, that is my gut feeling.  We are bound to get short term gains but the longer term I am interested in and the next generation.

I found out that this guy had successfully created a genetic modification to get rid of this ring spot virus.  They saw a marked improvement in the plants those without the gene and those with it were far stronger and taller.  Thus through his determination he was able to save an industry.  What I found interesting was Monsanto.  He mentioned they wanted 10 million for the licence.  As a public scientist he was able to win the case and get a licence to propagate this genetic change.  What is interesting about GMO’s is that companies when they change the organism they claim intellectual property. Indeed it leads to ethical questions and my mind goes to the human genome, is my genetic material owned by a company? What if that company is pure profit and they withhold genetic changes that benefit people in order to get higher prices. That has been done with food production eg. the price of grain in Britain – I believe the grain was put in silos to ensure the price of grain went up.   So commercial interests often are looking to maximise profit which can run counter to the public good.  As they own the product the public have no rights to it.  So the argument of working in the public good does run shallow for me when the public lose rights over the internal workings of the company, to access research material to assess if the research is bonifide or has been manipulated in favour of the company so they can make millions if not billions.  We had a scientist come to Australia who was speaking out about the corruption of these big multinationals, how scientists were purchased and the unethical and intimidating conduct.  The issue that really touched me was the terminator seeds.   These are seeds that have been genetically manipulated to not re-seed.  So they are one offs.   What I found interesting today at this meeting was that the lady in this duo made the statement that the terminator seed was not true.  I am aware that indeed it is in India and the farmers are forced to buy from Monsanto.  It is clearly about built-in obsolescence and profit.  Again this is not about balance with nature.  The point I made with this GMO couple was that my interest is intent – is it profit or balance with nature?  My blog is peace is our true nature, what I am gleaning is that until we find balance within ourselves, a sense of inner security, a sense of trust in the natural order we will continue to attempt to control nature.  We see attempts to own nature, to control it, to profit from it, and pollute it without a backward glance.  That is a sign of living in a material reality that has no sense of its sacred connection to the natural order.  It is only when you step out of your own insecurity and trust life as I am doing, that you realise that life actually supports you.   It has its own intelligence, the planet is alive and aware, I definitely concur with the Gaia philosophy. 

I felt it in a moment on a drive along a road in Canberra, Australia.  I suddenly had the feeling of oneness, that time and space was a moment of now.  That never left me.  I also was invited to commercialise scientific technology as a market analyst by CSIRO – Australian Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Organisation.  I had ethical issues about lending my personal energy to genetic engineering as I didn’t want to be responsible for destroying the natural order that had been naturally selected for up to 4 billion years.  In fact in the week of my decision, as this was a career breakthrough for me, my partner received a sculpture.  This was a metal sculpture – imagine a long triangular base and on it was a series of different sized prongs.  Now at the end of each prong was a twist.  The prongs represented plants and the twist represented the double helix.  What are the chances of my partner getting a metal sculpture of plant life with a double helix?  That is the message that life sends me clearly, I am aware of the message and I am under no doubt my answer to the job is – NO.   I have $20 in my bank account so I was faced with the fear of not enough and a job opportunity in the same breath.  I turned it down as I saw the real gold in my ethics which told me to not interfere in the building blocks of life.  I am to stay in a space of peace and harmony within. This I did.  My partner was so surprised.

(Rotary meeting) I noted at this meeting, and had it reinforced to me, that people were not happy with my questions.  Yet my answer to that would be – democracy and truth – no apology.  At this meeting I was pleased to hear Rotarians recite the 4 Way Test.  I see this as an excellent guide.  As follows:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

This was precisely my modus operandi, I was questioning for truth.  I question is it beneficial to all concerned (the planet).

There were undercurrents I was informed.  Perhaps some thought I was not respectful to this scientist by questioning, even though my question was not aggressive it was genuine.  Other perhaps thought I am a guest.  Perhaps others believed this type of genetics was innovative and was supporting the local industry and he was a hero.   Our paradigms on industry and economic growth are largely unquestioned. 

Whatever the beliefs I am consciously aware to love people unconditionally and to see them as part of myself but to be myself as well.  I notice when people disagree with a position they move away psychologically and emotionally from you.  When they agree they are all smiles.  Imagine a world where we are all smiles all the time even as you spoke your own truth that differed.  That is the beginning of peace in my view.  It is also democracy so many say they live.

What I love about being a clown is that I have cultivated a love for all not based on their thoughts but the fact they are alive and a fully present being on the planet.  I have cultivated a different mindset, yet at the same time I feel out of love we must speak our truth gently but openly. Even though you may speak it differently to my view, I respect that it was your truth, hence the 4 way test.   That to me is democracy.  That is the greatness in society that I see so clearly.  Freedom of thought and exploring possibilities. It is not about them and us.

I notice this conditional love with most people.  It is our conditioning.  I was seeking the truth, which is why I asked the questions.   I have my own inner truth and I feel we are to change, not nature.  We are to learn our true nature.  But what we have to face is our fear of not enough, our fear of poverty and our fear uncertainty.  I am facing that in my own life by not having a home or a job (vocation really) and not having physical supports strongly in place, I am like a blade of grass on the wind.  Yet I feel I am learning to go with the flow of this wind of change, to learn to not fight, not resist but to be authentic in myself even if it goes against (in people’s minds) the prevailing views. I feel ‘to thine own self be true’ is fundamental to happiness. Perhaps this is the foundation to a evolving humanity.  There are some that perceive humans are changing to live in harmony with a re-new-able earth.

Later on another fellow came up to me and expressed his concerns about GMO’s, I realised I was not alone in my feeling.  Moreover, the speaker thanked me for my question.  I made the point to the woman in this team that her comment about side stepping philosophy (words to that effect) giving the impression it gets in the way and is not important.  I made my feeling clear that I sense it is important not to side step philosophy in my view. I felt philosophy as so important that we explore it, that those seen as the opponent ‘protestors’ (distinct camps here) are not the enemy but they are teachers.  If we all learn to respect and deeply listen (as Australian indigenous taught) we will come together and resolve these issues as it impacts on all of us (think of children here).  My feeling is to learn peace through conflict.  The reality I saw was that the GMO gene manipulation was out of the bag, meaning it is too late to stop it, in truth it has been released into the natural environment.  So we must enter this human world of philosophy and start to approach the harder, deeper questions – What does it mean to us?  Are ethics important? How do we safeguard the genetic blueprint of our natural world to ensure systemic balance? What are the implications if these modifications create distortions in the natural flow?  What of species/organisms and balance?  What do we really know of the interconnectedness of nature?  Are we islands of automation? Or is it a self-regulating intelligent system?  What are the natural tolerances (or give) in respect of our changes to genetic material?   Who are we? Do we have the right to interfere with natural order?  and so on. 

So philosophy is pondering the deeper questions and finding our truth within this duality.  To open our minds to other truths, even if different or opposite to what we believe.  To  ascertain through personal inquiry if we are in alignment with our true nature.  To determine our true intentions and to reveal our denials, dishonesty and fears.   All becomes fundamental to the reality of human survival, in my view.

We are just beginning to know who we are.   The world is at a precipice of great change and I do feel whether people agree or not, we will be facing ourselves, issues long suppressed will surface given the natural challenges that are happening through climate change and earth changes.  We are intimately part of nature and we cannot survive without it.  Yes we can try for other planets, but so far we haven’t found life supporting planets.   The real point is to find our inner truth I feel.

I felt Shakespeare’s quote arise in my heart as revealing the open mind…

 “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”