Kauai's Passionate Anti-GMO March Aims to Sway Local Biotech Vote

Sophie Cocke/ Civil Beat

UPDATED 9/9/2013 10:18 a.m.

LIHUE — On the normally placid main street on Sunday afternoon, thousands of people marched in protest. As they snaked down Rice Street, toward the Kauai County Building, they chanted, "No More GMO! No More GMO!”

Much of the symbolism was colorful, even a bit carnival-esque, but grim. People wore masks with skulls. One man carried a pitch fork. As the breeze tussled numerous Hawaiian flags, signs lurched into the sky to scream, "Too Much Poison!”

Despite the underlying anger, the protestors were actually there to be constructive. That was as clear as the writing on their ubiquitous red shirts: “Pass the Bill.”

UPDATE The thousands of people at the "Mana March" — organizers put the number at 3,000 or 4,000 — were here to promote passage of Bill 2491. (Police estimate the crowd was only 1,500-1,800.) Introduced by Kauai County Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum, the measure requires that the four biotech companies operating on Kauai — Syngenta, DuPont-Pioneer, Dow and BASF — disclose what pesticides they are spraying, where and in what quantities. The bill also requires buffer zones between biotech fields and public areas, including schools, parks, roads and waterways.

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