by Andrew Walden
Today’s Star-Advertiser carries a commentary from four Hawaii agriculture leaders who describe acts of eco-terrorism in 2000 and what some suspect may be renewed eco-terrorism today:
In 2000, anti-biotech activists calling themselves "menehune" wiped out a test plant plot of corn at a seed research facility on Kauai. A day later, the group destroyed several test crops of papaya, pineapple and flowers at the Kauai Agricultural Resource Center, which is operated by the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In May 2010, nearly 400 papaya trees were destroyed at a Mililani farm. A month later, more than 8,500 trees in Kapoho were chopped down, resulting in more than $100,000 in losses for farmer Laureto Julian. In all of the papaya destruction incidents, the fruit — much of it ready for harvest — was left behind.
And now another 10 acres of papayas have been destroyed near the site of the 2010 attack. Many suspect Environmental terrorists. The Puna District of Hawaii Island is well-known to be infested with Environmentalists.
It is said that Environmentalism has been “hijacked” by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Environmentalists are said to be moderates. Some even call Environmentalism a Religion of Peace.
But where are the moderates? Where are the Environmental voices raised over the injustice of incidents like these? How many Environmentalists are willing to stand up and say, that this manner of vandalism and sabotage is appalling, ignorant, and bigoted — and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, this should no longer be done?
Usually, Environmentalist groups like Greenpeace are quick to defend any affront to the image of Environmentalism. But this “peace” organization, which represents thousands of Believers, actually organizes and carries out many acts of eco-terrorism every year.
But while the incidents in Kapoho have done more to damage the image of Environmentalism than a dozen cartoons depicting hippie tree-huggers, the usual suspects that line up to protest every Environmental threat, real or imagined, are quiet now.
I wish there were more Environmental moderates. But when there is suffering and cruelty in the name of Environmentalism, we hear nothing from the usually voluble Environmental lawyers, politicians, or street activists.
Environmentalism is a proud institution, one to which more than a billion people subscribe, at least in theory, and in the heart of the Environmentalist world it is the law of the land. More compelling even than the order to destroy GMOs is the command that the believer show no compassion. It is this order to choose Gaia above his sense of conscience and compassion that imprisons the Environmentalist in a mindset that is archaic and extreme.
If moderate Environmentalists believe there should be no compassion shown to humble fruit growers from Kapoho, then what exactly makes them so moderate?
When a “moderate” Environmentalist’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Gaia, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Environmentalism will remain wishful thinking.
Liberally adapted from “Islam’s Silent moderates” NYT 12-7-2007 by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
UPDATE: Leading Kauai Environmentalist calls Destruction of Papayas “Self-Defense”