Do you love Hawaii? Do you only eat organic?
Are you friend or foe of GMO? I’ve never formed a concrete opinion on account of my ignorance of the matter. I’d heard that they cause cancer, that they help feed more people, so it’s like a coin-toss, right?
Well I just watched Cyrus Sutton’s new film Island Earth, and it helped answer many of my questions. You’ll remember Cyrus from his van escapades and effortless flow at a certain Peruvian lefthander, but this time the San Diego native has branched out beyond the realm of surf and into health and politics.
The film focuses on the GMO industry that has embedded itself in the Hawaiian island chain. Many locals are upset that the companies have taken vast swaths of land, sickened the local people with pesticides, and above all else they’re mad because the food these companies produce isn’t even used for consumption. Hawaii is essentially a giant laboratory for novel GMO testing.
A main character in the film is Cliff Kapono, a Hawaiian native who, aside from being a phenomenal surfer, has spent the last few years working on a PhD at UC San Diego. Cliff’s goal has always been to return to Hawaii with enough knowledge to help local communities thrive independently from outside industries. He initially believed GMOs were a smart pathway to minimizing the amount of pesticides used for agricultural growth, but once he gained an insider’s perspective, Cliff realized that like most things, the agricultural industry is entirely corrupt.
The film also visits Dustin Barca, an ex-CTer who decided to fight the GMO companies by becoming mayor of Kauai, but ultimately fell short.
If nothing else, the documentary gives wonderful insight to the frustrations of Hawaiian communities. Regardless of your beliefs on GMOs, it’s inarguable that they’re getting the raw end of this deal.
For anyone who cares, I came out of this film conflicted. It seems as though GMOs could be exponentially useful to the human food crisis, but because of the greedy bastards running the whole thing, it’s destined to harm us in the long run. GMO companies function like the pharmaceutical industry — they have no interest in finding a forever-cure, they just want to keep treating the symptoms with a pill you take every day for the rest of your life. Assured profits are king.
If you live on the US or Canadian west coast and seek to see the film for yourself, click here for a full list of premiere dates and locations. If you don’t live in this highly specific geographical region, watch this bit of irony while you wait for it to come out online!