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Your Views for September 8

Lithium needed

Although many are quick to regard fossil fuels with a negative demeanor, blaming them for such things as pollution and climate change, few are concerned about the new risks and consequences involved with using electricity only. Upon replacing fossil fuels with batteries another problem arises.

Electricity can be harnessed easily and inexpensively from light and gravity. To store the energy, however, a large amount of lithium will be needed and to get it will require it extensive mining. There is no need to list the invasive methods and harmful effects of mining processes. Instead, it should be pointed out that the most abundant sources of lithium have been found in Afghanistan and Bolivia. Bolivia already suffers from symptoms of over-mining. Afghanistan, coming out of recent conflict, might benefit from the export of lithium and the resulting economy, and should impose restrictions to limit the possibility of destructive mining.

Among the group of lithium-rich countries, America and the Congo are also present, but Afghanistan has the largest deposit found. Many energy prospects currently reside in Asia minor, and might remain so as a theater for future campaigns to seize important resources.

Galen Larson


GMO scenario

As a neophyte to the whole GMO issue that has flooded the news of late, I started to pay attention. I heard all the horror stories about GMO from both sides. It reminds me of the global warming scare some years ago, where lawmakers were pressed hard by the public to do something now! It didn’t matter if the law made any sense, but something had to be done about it now!

Here are some observations as an outsider listening and watching to the proceedings and testimony at the Hawaii County Council meetings. I am in complete agreement with having safe food and knowing what’s in my food. I spend time reading the labels on food to see if any of the ingredients contain items not good for me. Like the salt content, the fat content and other items that could affect my health adversely because of my age and current health condition. That’s just good common sense and well-being.

What puzzles me is the GMO argument, and it is an argument of late that has lost all discourse. It’s not so much as the end product, but the hatred towards certain corporations, that being mostly directed at Monsanto.

The Rainbow papaya is a safe product. I eat it all the time. I understand how the science works. What I don’t understand is the vitriol hatred towards corporations like Monsanto. Especially after President Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act [H.R. 933] and Obama picked for the FDA’s food safety czar Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto executive. I mean, if you can’t trust President Obama, who can you trust?

I predict that if Councilwomen Margaret Wille and Brenda Ford’s bills were to pass, it could possibly collapse the small business farming industry on the Big Island. Once farmers are criminalized for growing products that are in any way GMO related, then they have no choice but to either shut down their business or use other farming methods. That doesn’t guarantee that such a restricted business model will be successful, especially when the farmers are forced to competing against the same products grown elsewhere and may be GMO. I don’t believe the bills forbid people from purchasing and consuming GMO products — yet.

After all, we don’t want the government to tell us what we can and cannot put in our bodies. We should have the freedom to consume whatever we want without any government interference.

These bills, should they become law, could put people out of their livelihood — generations of local farmers that have provided safe, delicious and healthy foods on the Big Island for decades. Families won’t be able to pay their mortgages. People will lose their homes and farms. There will be an increase strain on social services to help the poor and children needing affordable food. Unemployment will probably spike, causing the council to possibly negotiate with off-island vacation corporations.

Once the land is cleared of the farmers, then the vacation corporations will come in to help with the unemployment situation. They’ll stimulate the construction industry, which in turn will stimulate other island businesses. Now the farmers will have some recourse to support their families, despite having to lose their land to corporations that they now work for. They’ll have a job, and they should be grateful — especially grateful to those on County Council, for without their care and wisdom, we would never be in this situation.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part. I could be wrong.

Gene Lamkin



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