Although the Union of Concerned Scientists favors the use of genetically modified agriculture, it has concerns:
* Roundup resistance technology has led to greater use of herbicides, with troubling implications for biodiversity, sustainability and human health.
* Engineered genes intrude upon non-genetically engineered crops. When this happens, sustainable farmers - and their customers - pay a high price.
* Monsanto's emphasis on limited crop varieties contributes to increased pesticide and fertilizer pollution.
* Monsanto outspends all other agribusinesses on efforts to persuade Congress and the public to maintain the industrial agriculture status quo. This means its voice is the loudest, but not necessarily the most accurate.
* By creating obstacles to independent research on its products, Monsanto makes it harder for farmers and policymakers to make informed decisions that lead to more sustainable agriculture.
* Monsanto contributes little to helping the world feed itself and fails to endorse science-backed solutions that don't give its products a central role. The UCS states, "Hundreds of international scientists that contributed to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)-a report supported and endorsed by several UN agencies, the World Bank, and dozens of countries-have said that non-GE approaches that cost less and are more effective should be prioritized."
Maui voters are doing independent research. The question remains: Are the County Council and the mayor also doing their own, or are they content to consume an exclusive diet of genetically modified confusion?
James Phillip Miner