Also Launches Citizens Petition to Present to Swiss Government
April 17, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action Supports Educational Delegation
to Switzerland, Home of Pesticide Giant Syngenta
(LIHUE) - The Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) is supporting a delegation of Kauaʻi residents to travel to Basel, Switzerland at the invitation of Swiss non-profit “MultiWatch.” The Kauaʻi delegation has been invited to speak on April 24 & 25 to a European alliance of environmental organizations, trade unions and political parties tracking the activities and impacts of Swiss transnational corporations around the world. Switzerland is the home of Syngenta, one of five multinational chemical corporations conducting research operations on the Hawaiian islands.
The delegation includes County Council Member and HAPA Board President Gary Hooser, HAPA Board Member and Hawaiian cultural educator Mālia Kahaleʻinia Chun, and environmental scientist and co-director of Ohana O Kauaʻi Fern Rosenstiel. (n1)
The purpose of the trip is to educate this international audience on the cultural and historical context of Syngenta’s operations on Kauaʻi, the impacts of the industry’s activities, and the political and social efforts of the community to gain environmental and public health protections (i.e. through Kauaʻi Bill 2491 and state bills such as HB1514).
“The trip represents a unique opportunity for Kauaʻi residents to join with other international organizations and individuals to discuss the impacts that companies like Syngenta and other large transnational corporations have on small communities around the world,” said HAPA President Gary Hooser.
Syngenta conducts heavy applications of Restricted Use Pesticides on Kauaʻi and sells RUPs containing atrazine and paraquat for use around Hawaiʻi -- pesticides which are banned in their home country of Switzerland. (See Table 1 below.) Yet, Syngenta sprays these pesticides on a regular basis near schools, hospitals and homes on Kauaʻi. In addition, Syngenta has extensive acreage of open-air genetically-modified test crops on Kauaʻi, while cultivation of GMOs is banned in Switzerland. (n2)
The delegation will be presenting Swiss lawmakers with a petition from Hawai‘i residents and other supporters requesting that Hawai‘i and its people be granted the same respect and protection that is granted to the people of Switzerland. Link to petition: http://tinyurl.com/StandWithKauai
The Kauaʻi delegation will be meeting with numerous organizations as well as with Swiss government leaders to educate them on the impacts of intensive pesticide use around the Hawaiʻian islands, and Syngenta's response to county and state attempts to require basic pesticide disclosure and buffer-zones around sensitive areas. Hooser will be speaking as an individual relating his individual experiences, thoughts and concerns and not in his official capacity.
The Kauaʻi contingent will also be sharing with the Swiss people the historical and cultural context in which this is occurring. "This is an excellent opportunity to bring the cultural, health and environmental impacts that these chemical corporations have in Hawaiʻi to the international forefront," said Mālia Chun of Kekaha on west Kauaʻi.
The Swiss sponsors of the conference (the Basel chapter of “MultiWatch”) are providing partial travel support and will be hosting the contingent while in Basel. HAPA is raising the remaining funds via community donations.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring international attention to what’s happening here in Hawai'i,” said Fern Rosenstiel. “Since our local communities have been blocked by the influence of these multinational chemical corporations at the county and state levels, we are hopeful that by taking this message to their headquarters we may be able to better secure the rights and protections they give their own citizens.”
Fundraising for the trip is ongoing and contributions can be made at www.HAPAhi.org.
(n1) Each individual will be representing their own personal view points and not be representing any official position of their employers.
Contact: Elif Beall, Communications Director
The Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) is a public non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. HAPA’s mission is to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing ʻaina (environment) and people ahead of corporate profit.