Maui Voted Seventh Best Island in the World

Aloha!

In case you haven’t heard, the readers of Travel and Leisure magazine have once again named Maui the best island in Hawaii, and the seventh best in the world.

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Readers voted in the magazine’s annual “World’s Best” awards, based on the ratings of five characteristics: natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people/friendliness and value.

The island of Kauai followed at the number eight ranking.

Here are the 10 best islands in the world, according to Travel + Leisure:

Galapagos Islands
Bali
Maldives
Tasmania in Australia
Santorini in Greece
Moorea in French Polynesia
Maui
Kauai
Great Barrier Reef and
Malta.

So, mauidailyescape readers, how would YOU vote? Where does the beautiful isle of Maui rank for you out of the Hawaiian islands…and in the world?

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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Divisiveness to the Max

Aloha!
There’s an elephant in the room in Maui. It’s been here for months, everyone is sick of it, and it’s not leaving until Tuesday. Even then, there will probably be great piles of elephant dung left flung about.

I’m referring to the Maui County GMO Initiative (genetically engineered organisms),calling for a moritorium on the growing of GMO seeds in Maui County, until further studies can be carried out. Hawaii has the lowest voter turnout in the ENTIRE country, and Maui County has the lowest voter turnout in the state. You do the math. But this initiative has driven more residents than ever to get involved. And it’s getting
uuu-gggly.

In a nutshell, Monsanto and Dow Chemical corporations are planting four crops per year on Maui, and spraying over 80 chemicals in their open-air laboratories and chemical test sites. These chemicals mix in the fields and spread into the neighborhoods, ocean, reefs, groundwater and our bodies. The Environmental Protection Agency admitted that they do not test to regulate any of the billions of possible chemical combinations occurring in and around the GMO fields. In July, 2014 the State Department of Health stated that ALL surface waters tested in Maui County are contaminated with pesticides.

And birth defects are on the rise. According to doctors on Kaua’i, babies born next to GMO fields are born with 10 times the national average of a rare heart disease. On Kaua’i, Moloka’i, as well as Maui there are cases of babies being born with their intestines on the outside of their bodies. The Big Island now bans any new GMO crops because the GMO Rainbow Papaya has contaminated the island.

Monsanto and Dow Chemical are the only two chemical corporations growing commercial GMO seed and test crops on Maui. They are not growing any food for Hawaii.

According to the SHAKA movement (proponents of the Initiative), the “Citizens Against the Farming Band” is a front group that was created by a project manager of Mycogen (Dow Chemical) on Moloka’i to trick the voters into voting against their own best interests. Monsanto and Dow have spent millions (8 million…they have outspent opponents of GMO’s 100 to 1) on propaganda to confuse and scare uninformed citizens, all in order to avoid safety studies and maintain its seed-testing operations on Maui. With Monsanto contributing $5.1 million to the fund, it’s the most money ever raised for a single campaign in state history, according to Tony Baldomero, Associate Director of the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission. By comparison, “Former Governor Linda Lingle spent about 6.5 million…but that was over a four-year period. This is over a two – month period,” he said.

So that’s one side of the coin. On the flip side, small farmers believe they will be fined or jailed and that the Initiative’s moratorium on GMO’s will not allow crops to finish their lifecycle. They believe there will be job losses. (However, the GMO corporations can switch back to growing non-– GMO seed crops, which they have already begun to do.) The Initiative is not a pesticide law, but farmers have been persuaded that they will not have a right to use pesticides….

The facts are this: Monsanto and Dow Chemical have caused 189 “Superfund Cleanup Sites.” These are sites contaminated with hazardous substances. In each case they claimed everything was safe until the court ordered them to pay. On July 25, 2014 Monsanto was ordered to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange. On August 21, 2003 Monsanto and Solutia, Inc. were ordered to pay $700 million for poisoning Anniston, Alabama with PCBs.

Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District Health Officer, and Mark Sheehan, Ph.D., started the SHAKA movement petition to implement a “temporary moratorium” on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Maui County “until studies prove they are safe.” The group gathered more than 9,000 valid signatures in support of the measure, becoming the first citizens group in Maui County history to have gathered enough support to put initiative on the ballot. Several states have pushed for GMO – labeling laws but only two, Maine and Connecticut, have managed to successfully pass labeling laws.

Advocates argue that biotechnology helps fill a critical need for food in the world. The (Bill) Gates and Warren Foundations, both private humanitarian organizations, partnered with Monsanto to fund an effort on a seed farm in Kihei (Maui) to develop drought resistant maize that could be grown in the poorest, driest areas of Africa. Pang stated that while those groups may have good intentions it doesn’t change the health affects their GMO practices might have on the environment and the public. When asked why regulatory agencies like the EPA and FDA allow the cultivation of crops, without having completed sufficient studies, Pang likened GMO to cigarettes. “Until the 1950s, big tobacco (companies) said, ‘no harm has been shown.’ That doesn’t mean there is no harm; it just means studies haven’t been done,” he said.

On a lighter note, you can view a SNL-type parody by the SHAKA group here: http://www.voteyesmaui.org (quite funny…wait for it…)

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Also, my friend who is a Maui attorney read every word of the Initiative. I didn’t have that kind of patience, but as a lawyer, I trust that she wrangled the facts buried in all the legalese. She is voting “YES” for the Initiative, for a GMO moritorium on Maui. Here it is:

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Yes, these are sad, stressful times on Maui. Dr. Lorrin Pang says he does not eat papayas anymore because of this issue. Mayor Alan Arakawa was quoted in the Maui News (www.mauinews.com) on October 19, 2014. As he heads into what he hopes will be a new four-year term, he reflected on the changes in the community he was reared in and the one today. Watching the ugly bullying, threats, defacing of trees and signs and cursing going on over the GMO Initiative worries him. “It is really sad. That shift is what I think will be the ruination of our community and breaking all the lines of trust that we have built for generations,” he said.

If you are local, PLEASE vote your heart on this coming Tuesday, November 4th. If you love Maui…please vote.

(All facts sourced from The Maui News and the group “Maui Citizens’ Initiative for Temporary Moratorium on GMO Crops”, PO Box 790538 Paia, HI 96779)

A hui hou. Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Calm and Clear

Aloha!
Tropical Storm Ana has moved on, and we suffered no damage. There were high winds, an amazing lightning show that went on for hours (we rarely get lightning on Maui) and a deluge of rain. But we even made it to a party on Saturday night that everyone wanted to go to and no one wanted canceled…(thanks, Shel!)

The thing about hurricanes is that it can look like they’re going out to sea, and then they can turn on a dime and blast back to land. That’s what happened with Hurricane Iniki when it hit Kauai in 1992. So the media has to really hype the hurricane, and get everyone’s attention just in case it does make landfall and there is major damage. People have to be safe. Thus, all the closures on Maui.

It was interesting, though, that Sunday morning–after the storm was on its way out– I was practically blasted out of bed at 3 AM from a flood warning on my cell phone. I don’t know how they even got the volume that loud, way louder than my normal ringtone!

There will be major run-off into the ocean from the storm, which creates murky water (dead fish and animals), and then the sharks move in. There was a report in the Maui News on Sunday morning (www.mauinews.com), about a man and his children surfing Maalaea Harbor after the storm, and a shark showed up. NEVER go in the water after a storm like this!

Anyway, the beauty of storms here is that they blow the VOG (volcanic organic gas) out, and we get nice clean air for a few days…longer, if we’re lucky.

We were hoping it would dial the heat down a notch or two, but we are still having record temperatures, over 90° every day, and the humidity…WHEW!!

Thanks to all the readers who sent good wishes for our safety in the storm, and even wrote to follow up. We appreciate each and everyone of you!

A hui hou. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Whale Mystery on Kauai

Aloha!

Anti-Rimpac Activists–against sonar testing done by the navy offshore –have new ammunition, as a healthy 16 ft. pilot whale washed ashore yesterday on Kauai.

The jury is still out on what caused the whale to beach:

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According to Kauai Marine Biologist Terry Lilley, “There were were two small punctures in the male’s body, each about an inch and a half across, but it did not seem to have any disease or markings indicating any trauma. Having a superhealthy whale wash up like this is highly unique.”

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He went on to say, “The sonar testing affects the inner ear of the whale. It loses its ability to navigate. Whales navigate by sonar.”

According to the news report on KGMB Hawaii News Now, a team of veterinarains and support staff will perform a necropsy on the whale. A Hawaiian practitioner will perform the appropriate cultural protocols. Specimens from the animal will be sent to laboratories on the mainland but there will not be results for several days.

What is Rimpac? The website cpf.navy.nil states: “Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), RIMPAC 2014 is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

This year’s RIMPAC exercise, the 24th in the series that began in 1971, is scheduled from June 26 to August 1, with an opening reception scheduled for June 26 and closing reception August 1. Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate. Units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate.

RIMPAC is a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.”

Where do you stand on this long-running contoversy? Marine biologist Terry Lilley called them “war games” and believes they are harmful to the whales. The Navy says the maneuvers are neccessary.

What do you think?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica