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Letters for Oct. 16, 2014

• There are benefits to GMOs,but there is a price to pay, too • Protection of natural resources should be a priority

There are benefits to GMOs,but there is a price to pay, too

One can easily identify with protesters who want to ban genetically engineered crops. Organic is the way it has always been until recently. Climate change, however, presents diminishing returns on crop yields. A 2 degree increase in global temperatures stifles plant growth. Water becomes scarcer as increased heat leaves our Earth parched and aquifers empty.

Deforestation of the world’s major sources of recycling carbon dioxide emissions, Brazil and the Congo, increases the acidity of the oceans and the solar over heating of our atmosphere. Future wars will still be fought over religion or politics, but more global conflicts will arise over drinking water and its access.

The world’s human population increases by 90 million every year according to the World Health Organization. To feed these masses, the normal societal response is to increase fertilizers to grow more crops. Increased phosphates leach into our oceans and destroy our coral reefs. The fish population around shorelines decrease. Also, to increase green harvests we traditionally increase insecticides. Pumping more petroleum based insecticides into our atmosphere will pollute our drinking water, contaminate our poultry and meats and turn our breathable air into filtered or unfiltered commodities.

We have had GMO crops for decades. Baron Goto, the former chancellor of the East West Center, developed the miracle rice of Asia which resulted in bountiful yields of rice for the growing populations around the Pacific. Our papaya industry, long the beneficiary of GMO research, will disappear if the current species are banned. Almost all of our farm products in Hawaii have benefitted from GMOs either through becoming more resistant to insects or thriving on less water.

We can remain in the dark ages about agriculture, but who will be here to answer your great-grandchildren when they decry the criminal neglect of Mother Earth.

Harvey Hakoda

Honolulu

Protection of natural resources should be a priority

One of the most serious matters of importance for Kauai officials should be the protection of recreational, environmental and ecological resources of this county, yet it seems that some have proceeded without more than a cursory effort to deliberate carefully the effort by Hawaii Dairy Farms to place an industrial-sized project in an area of one of the few remaining pristine and ecological prominent spots of the world.

The EPA and the Department of Health are the final authority, at least before the courts, but this proposal should not need to pass through that far.

The county needs to mandate a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit under the Federal Clean Water, which would set the terms (zero tolerance for this large industrial sized CAFO-dairy). They have not as yet.

In Maui, a not unlike situation occurred. It was resolved in 2013 when the University of Hawaii placed dye in the effluent material being sub-soiled and then months later seeing that dye show in the ocean waters near that area. HDF proposes a constant use of a mixed manure and water.

Does Koloa, Poipu, the south beach and our ocean need to experience a like problem before action is taken to prevent such discharge from happening?

I would sincerely hope not.

Ronald John

Sacramento, Calif.

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