Hawaii’s Gary Hooser Takes on Syngenta in Switzerland

 Gary Hooser, an elected member of the Kauai County Council and former Hawaii State Senator, is a true public servant. Recently, Hooser traveled to Syngenta’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland to attend and speak at their annual Shareholders’ Meeting. The organization MultiWatch, a coalition made up of 16 member from Switzerland, which calls attention to human rights violations by transnational companies that are based in Switzerland, contacted Hooser and others regarding Syngenta. Hooser’s message to the Syngenta Shareholders and their Board of Directors was this: honor the laws of Hawaii and drop their lawsuit against Bill 2491; stop spraying their chemicals such as Atrazine and Paraquat that are banned in many other countries including Switzerland; and to offer Kauai and all Hawaii the same respect and protection that is afforded to the residents of Switzerland. Hooser also delivered a Petition which had over 7,000 signatures to the government of Switzerland and Syngenta.

 Kauai’s population, which is around 65,000,  has been called “Ground Zero” because it is a GE testing ground to four chemical companies, including Dow, BASF, DuPont Pioneer, and Syngenta.  Hooser stated that over half of the island’s population can’t avoid driving by these test fields daily and that they are spraying these toxic chemicals within 100 feet of schools and hospitals. Many residents are reporting health issues. The bigger concern is what will happen after years of this toxic spraying?

Hooser talked about Bill 2491 which he co-authored, and how this Bill was a grassroots effort by the people. The Bill was passed and became Ordinance 960. Immediately after the Bill was passed, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and Dow filed a lawsuit to stop the Bill. The judge ruled in favor of these chemical companies, which means that the Bill is currently on hold pending appeal.

 Hooser strongly feels that the people need to fight back against these chemical giants to protect the environment and its people. He talked about how the use of these restricted use pesticides on this remote island in the Pacific is contaminating the waters. Atrazine has been found in about 80% of Kauai’s streams. Atrazine is banned in many other countries and studies have shown that it is a known endocrine disruptor. Studies conducted by Dr. Tyrone Hayes at the University of Berkeley California revealed hormonal changes in frogs and this chemical actually can turn male frogs into female frogs. To listen to our interview with Dr. Hayes click here. In speaking with Hooser, he stated that they are seeing this kind of thing in Kauai–frogs with deformities.

 These chemical companies have distributed GMO coloring books in their schools to spread their propaganda to the children of Kauai. Hooser’s message is this: we must fight back and not give these giant chemical companies the keys to Hawaii. He founded and started a non-profit called Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational advocacy organization. This organization assists volunteers, supports the movement and funds activists. He encourages people to get involved in any way they can and to look into HAPA to see how they can help.

What is happening in Hawaii is just another example of the bullying tactics of these multinational corporations that do not care about human health or the environment but only their profits! We concur with Gary Hooser that we all must fight these corporation so that we can have safe food and water, as well as an environment that is free from these toxic chemicals. Our children, grandchildren and generations to come will thank us. What can you do?

To listen to this inspirational and informative interview, click on the link at the bottom of the page.

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  1. I am outraged by the way these large chemical companies treat us! We need to do away with all dangerous poisons in our world today!

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