A big decision
The content of two bills currently being heard by the County Council (bills 109 and 113) regarding the control of genetically modified organisms (GMO) again displays the reluctance of the county to embrace involvement beyond the local scene, leaving us without a voice in determining the direction of what could be the most critical influence on the future of this planet.
There is no question that the genetic modification of organisms could evolve dangerously. However, to tell the world that we — as the only American state that could participate as a research center for the future of tropical agriculture — will not be a player in the ongoing effort, exempts us from the opportunity to play a vital role in the future and will portray us as petty victims of our own refusal to be involved.
Tropical agriculture will determine the future of the world food supply, and those of us who are participants in that effort recognize that the burden of providing for a growing population in an environment impacted by the evolution of increasingly resistant insects and diseases need the support of developing technology in order to keep up. While GMO may present legitimate and real concerns, that is exactly why we need to be involved.
To say to the research and development community that we don’t want you here is to exclude ourselves from that arena and silences our input, which is crucial, leaving unattended a meeting of the minds on the matter and a gaping hole in the discourse.
This attitude reflects a profound lack of not only leadership but responsibility, and the forfeiture of an opportunity to be involved in the larger picture of what life on this planet will become.
It may well be that Hawaii Island should be a GMO-free zone for many good reasons, but isolationism is a concept out of the past — and needs to be left there.
Having an episode of congestive heart failure while on vacation is not something I planned on. But when it happened on Aug. 23 while snorkeling at Richardson’s Ocean Park I can be thankful for the rapid response of the Hawaii Fire Department and EMS personnel.
My care at the Hilo Medical Center was outstanding, and again I am thankful to all the doctors, nurses and staff there. My wife and I were able to complete our vacation on the Big Island and safely return home to Virginia, thanks to everyone involved in the Hilo area.