Islands At Risk – Genetic Engineering in Hawaiʻi

Islands At Risk – Genetic Engineering in Hawaiʻi

Produced by Earthjustice

Directed by Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina

Produced for Earthjustice, a non-profit public interest law firm, this half-hour program explores a subject that has received little attention in the media but that involves a potential public health and safety issue of enormous consequence.

Focusing on local experiments with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), the program features Hawai’i farmers, teachers, legal and medical experts and community activists who share their perspective on the genetic engineering of crops and the patenting of life forms.

“Hawai’i has been called the GMO testing capitol of the world because, in the past ten years or so, we have had here more than 2,000 field tests of experimental genetically-engineered crops in more than 6,000 locations around our small state,” says Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff. “And this is more than any other place in the world.”

Earthjustice has won recent lawsuits in federal and state courts challenging the introduction of these experimental crop tests in the islands without first assessing the environmental and human health impacts.


Islands at Risk – Genetic Engineering in Hawai’i looks at some of the possible impacts, including allergic and immune system responses from exposure to biopharmaceutical crops —both in humans and in Hawai’i’s endangered species— and contamination of regular food crops such as papaya, taro, coffee and corn with genetically modified versions of those crops.

Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) recount their attempts to prevent the patenting of taro, honored as an ancestor, and assert their right to the biodiversity of their lands which is at the heart of their ability to maintain health and survival.

The video also addresses the impact of genetic engineering on food security and the world’s future ability to feed itself.

Featuring Paul Achitoff, Walter Ritte, Chris Kobayashi, Dr. Lorrin Pang, Nancy Redfeather, Isaac Moriwake, Melanie Bondera, Mililani Trask, Mark Query, Kalaniua Ritte, Hanohano Naehu, Una Greenaway, Jerry Konanui, Elisha Goodman, Eloise Engman, and Jeri Di Pietro


Produced and directed by Puhipau and Joan Lander of Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina

To purchase this DVD and to support Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina’s digital archiving project, please visit their website.

ʻŌiwi TV reaches across generations, socio-economic statuses, and geographic locations as the sole media venue where the Hawaiian language, culture and perspective thrive. Through Digital Channel 326, ʻŌiwi TV reaches over 220,000 households across the entire State via Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s network. Through its website, mobile, and social media venues, ʻŌiwi TV is reaching Hawaiians everywhere and engaging a generation of Hawaiians that expect to access anything and everything from anywhere at anytime.


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