Mālia Chun: Native Hawaiians launch movement against pesticides

The Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action - HAPA and Pesticide Action North America hosted the Hawai‘i Food Justice Summit: Challenging Impacts of the Global Agrochemical Industry, in Honolulu, Hawaii, on January 20, 2016. Photo from HAPA Hawaii / Twitter

Mālia Kahaleʻinia Chun explains why Native Hawaiians are seeking allies around the world in their fight against the use of pesticides:
Over the last few years, many people—Native and non-Native—have risen up in opposition to the pesticide/GE companies and their harmful practices. We have built a powerful people’s movement from the ground up, and through it won several new health-protective rules across the islands.

Unsurprisingly though, the companies have tied all of these up in the courts, so we are left struggling to protect our keiki (children) and our aina (land/ecosystems) from the same dangers as before. This is why some of us are taking our struggle internationally—connecting with Native Americans and Maori, the Native people of Aotearoa (also called New Zealand). As part of this international strategy, some of my colleagues and I also flew to Switzerland last year to participate in the Syngenta shareholders’ meeting in an attempt to hold them accountable for the impact of their harmful pesticide products.

Despite the immensity of these obstacles—the immense political power and influence wielded by the pesticide and GE corporations and the damage that has already been done to our soil, water, and ecosystems—I remain hopeful that we will regain the right and the resources to live, learn, eat and grow food in our traditional ways. Many of our children are now being educated in traditional schools, learning Hawaiian language and culture so that they may grow into aina warriors with a deep sense of their kuleana (one’s sense of responsibility and accountability).

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Mālia Kahaleʻinia Chun: Hawai’i and the Global Fight Against Pesticide Corporations (Indian Country Today 3/5)

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