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Letters 1-12-14

January 10, 2014 - 5:06pm

Editor’s note: The following two letters are from students in Robb Dahlke’s 10th-grade English class at Kealakehe High School. The letters were a class assignment. West Hawaii Today is printing two of the best letters addressing the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms.

Banning GMO crops is unreasonable

I’m writing about Bill 113 and its ban on most GMO crop usage. I believe that this bill is somewhat unreasonable.

The ban on open air GMO crop planting should be refined to a case-by-case basis.

Why? The answer is simple.

As I said, Bill 113 bans open air usage of GMO crops. This means that if you want to plant any kind of modified crop you must plant said object in a closed structure, such as a greenhouse.

What if you were looking to start a papaya farm? What would you plant? Your most likely answer would be the Rainbow Papaya. This particular fruit makes up about 77 percent of the state’s crop. However, only pre-existing farmers can continue growing this plant outside of a closed structure. That means if you were a new farmer looking to plant rainbow papaya, then you need to build a greenhouse. That might make it almost impossible to build a good sized farm capable of producing large quantities of papaya and even harder to make a profit from it.

While it is true that GMO products have no real “long-term” track record, GMOs are in most of the foods we eat. Do you like soybeans? Did you know that most soybeans are a modified crop? Did you also know that soy products most likely use the modified soybeans?

Does it affect you? No. You eat it everyday and it doesn’t affect you in any negative way. So why would you reduce the amount of money flowing into the islands by cracking down with this new law, specifically restricting you from planting new GMO crops.

Bill 113 needs to be redacted and fine-tuned to evaluate each intended use of GMO crops on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not permission should be granted to plant open air GMO crops. Only then will it be reasonable.

Quinlan Tanaka

Kealakehe High School

GMOs harmful for people, environment

Hawaii shouldn’t be allowed to grow genetically modified organism produce. We have been living off the natural resources for so long. Why would we change now and why don’t we go back like how our ancestors were? Why don’t we retrieve the knowledge of our ancestors and perpetuate what they did to make it what it is today?

Our community has a deep connection and respect for our land, and we all understand we must protect our island and preserve our precious natural resources to honor the generations past and provide for our future generations. We are determined to do what is right for the land because this place is unlike any other in the world. We want to encourage and support community-based farming and ranching using ways that sustain.

The World Health Organization defines GMOs as organisms in which the genetic material, DNA, has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Growing genetically modified food does not benefit and doesn’t sustain the land. In fact, it is harmful. It is harmful to the human body too, as well as toxic to the body, as much as it is to all animal life, including the insects that will become genetically modified to be repelled.

According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, genetically modified food has such a high risk of getting people sick and attacking their immune systems because the high amount of chemicals in the food don’t allow the body to absorb any nutrients at all. It is basically like eating a plastic fruit or vegetable.

I want to live a long and healthy life, and we all won’t be able to if we continue eating genetically modified organisms.

Josiah Kia

Kealakehe High School