Surfers Say No to GMOs

Dustin Barca’s “Aloha Aina March” attracted hundreds on the North Shore

| posted on December 17, 2013

Pouring rain and pulled permits didn’t stop protesters from turning out at Sunday’s “Aloha Aina March” in Haleiwa. At noon on Sunday, a mob marched 1.5 miles along the Kamehameha Highway to the Haleiwa Beach Park. Dustin Barca organized the event along with the Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition.

An estimated 1,000 people came out to make some noise and raise awareness about genetic engineering (GE) agricultural experimentation and pesticide-laden GE seed production in Hawaii. Among the throng of concerned citizens and environmental activists joining Barca were Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Mark Healey, Seabass, Makua Rothman, John John Florence, Jamie O’Brien, and Bede Durbidge, along with Molokai activist Walter Ritte.


There are two main issues the march was seeking to bring attention to. The first is companies like Monsanto performing genetic experiments on Hawaiian soil. These experiments are banned in other developed nations because of their potential environmental ramifications. The second is that Kamehameha Schools leased more than 1,000 acres of land to Monsanto for the testing, so the protesters urged the private school to evict the company.

This push came on the heels of the recently passed Kauai Bill 2491—legislation requiring companies to disclose their use of GMOs, pushed through after the city council overturned the mayor’s veto weeks before the opening of Hawaii’s legislature. Presumably, some anti-GMO bills will be up for debate.

Last week, Barca received the 2013 SURFER Poll Agent of Change Award, and announced the event during his award acceptance speech. He encouraged the surf community to show up and care about this GMO testing in Hawaii. “It’s time to step up and fight for the North Shore,” said Barca. “We want to save Haleiwa. We want to save Wailua. We want to save the North Shore.”

Photo: Glaser

Dustin Barca armed with a megaphone is a dangerous thing, a serious threat to GMOs. Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Protesters made their point clear on the Kamehameha Highway. They do not want Monsanto’s lease renewed in 2014. Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Slater, John John, and J.O.B. making their positions on the subject clear on the Haleiwa Rainbow Bridge. Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

A strong showing from a strong Hawaiian culture on the North Shore. Photo: Glaser

  • wade

    So awesome. How does this company still exist? Nobody (with a brain) wants them around!

  • Stu Azole

    strangely, they’re all sponsored by companies that mass produce cotton-based clothing. Cotton, of course, being the largest GMO crop around.

    • guest1122

      Really? you’re going to go there? Blaming surfers for producing cotton? How bout we focus on the reality of the situation. Preventing GMO companies from destroying the environment on the north shore by showering it with pesticides cocktails.
      Stu… your keyboard’s probably made in China through unfair labor,

      • Nola Leigh

        Stu isn’t blaming the surfers for producing cotton. Stu is rightly calling out the hypocrisy of protesting while they act as a walking billboard for as many dollars as possible selling logos printed on cheap GMO cotton clothing. The most unfortunate part of the entire debate is that a popularity contest is winning over science.

        • bobbybrakes

          It would be great if everything could be so easily absolute, but I’d rather have these guys taking a “step” in the right direction than staying at home because they couldn’t be 100% core activists.

          And, I’m not sure if this “science” thing you mention tells us that the current state of GMOs in agriculture are a good thing. I seem to read the opposite:

    • PuraKai Clothing

      The reason I founded PuraKai was to provide surfers, paddlers and other ocean enthusiasts an alternative. We use only 100% organic cotton and we make all of our clothing in California. And not to be hypocritical, personally not all of my clothing is 100% organic, but I try very hard to be as “Ocean Friendly” as possible. The bottom line is every item we buy that’s organic is one less dollar going to support GMO agriculture…

  • Surferdude

    Im sorry but its hard to take john john serious when he drives around in Hawaii in a massive pickup truck consuming massive amounts of a finite resources. Monsanto is the devil.

    • really?

      The north shore is 7 miles long. Where’s John John going to drive to consume massive amounts of finite resources. At least they are standing up for something, rather than criticizing a pono movement.

      • Surferdude

        check out surflines day with florence and see his massive truck, that gets 11mpg. i highly doubt he would be there if kelly slater wasnt there. is it okay to use up finite resources just because you have the money, well thats the same logic corporations use, doesnt make it right. but im sure if kelly slater wasnt there he would have been standing on top of his huge truck yelling at monsanto.

        • Sabbie

          11mpg or 35 mpg, do you really think you are more holy for driving a smaller car? If everyone drove a more fuel efficient car it would not even add up to one half of one drop in the bucket. Good on him for bringing attention to this issue.

          • Surferdude

            A finite resource which is what oil is, is consumed more buy vehicle with lower gas mileage, so hey want not let richer people just use it up. its called conservation, and if your gonna walk in an environmental/conservation get together you should at least be aware of your hypocrisy. its not about being holy its about doing the right thing.

  • Danni

    Unless you make it yourself, or work with someone who exclusively produces non-GMO anything…than you most likely own or consume something GMO’d. No need to hate. I would bet 80% of people who believe in a cause and support a cause are actively hypocritical in some way. No need for judgement. Their “fame” and access to the masses is bringing out awareness…which is more than what most people do. Good on them for taking a day out of their lives, no mater what that entails, to March in torrential rain, wind and flooding.

    • Surferdude

      Using people to bring awareness is a good thing but i highly doubt john john florence really cares that much about gmo’s and thus makes it kind of a joke. I say ask him next August what GMO’s are and then see his commitment. but hey im sure im wrong.

    • El Salvador

      well said Dani!

  • Brian

    Dont mess with the people who have more invested in mother nature than the corporations.

    Great Job Kelly, John John and JOB!

  • Lisa Andrews

    Mahalo EVERYONE for coming out to raise awareness about GMOs. Every little bit COUNTS… and it all adds up. Eyes on the ball. Maui needs our attention next to pass legislation regarding GMO and spray disclosures. We pass this – by gently moving the people to move their council people, WE CAN AFFECT 4 ISLANDS (Maui County)!!! Improvement in our laws will come. We need to start somewhere and get something on the books. We need to move people in 2014 to stand up to the Governor and State level politics -poised to undo all our good work on Kaua’i and Hawai’i!!! We must stay together, stay strong, stay peaceful, stay out of jail, … every man, woman, and child staying TOGETHER. WE ARE ONE. Keep the focus. Little conversations at the market, petitions, marches, meetings, social media, WHATEVER!!!!! The time is now to get along and get it on. IMUA, ALOHA. Lisa

  • Jonjon Taka

    Whatever John John drives be it a Tesla or a giant pick-up truck, it doesn’t change the fact these guys are doing the right thing by standing against Monsanto’s GMO and the biodiversity threatening poisons they keep spraying. Let’s not forget Monsanto is an extremely powerful company which aim is to control world wide food production via chemicals and genetics. The word control is key here, and they will use whatever means necessary regardless of the consequences on our environment.

    Rumor has it they even purchased Blackwater, the CIA private militia, in order to protect their interests in the developing world and eliminate activist groups.

    Monsanto is also a huge military contractor, and thus gets the support of the American government and the UN at the highest level. Few people may know that, but they were also a major contributor in the construction of the first Atomic bomb.. Check the Dayton project for more info.. They were responsible for creating the polonium used in the chain reaction. That’s the company that wants to feed us, I say no thanks…

    • Surferdude

      As evil as Monsanto is, BP,Shell,Exxon, Mobil, are just as bad and have done way more damage to our planet and have killed more life than most other corporations. i am glad that he stands up for something, but he could be standing up for the workers that make the clothes he is sponsored for, and maybe donate some of his earnings to keeping the ocean clean, lets hope its a start, but i doubt it.

      • Jonjon Taka

        No disrespect but it’s one thing to be committed to a cause and risk elimination like Justin Barca, it’s another to follow his lead like JJF and KS, but it’s entirely another one to be just a troll on the internet.

  • Pingback: Aloha Aina March – Kamehameha Schools: Evict Monsanto | Country Talk Story

  • MonicaByTheShore Parker

    Surfer Poll Top Surfers attendees show NO GMOs support as well on 12-6-13 at the Turtle Bay Resort awards ceremony:::

  • WhiteSandsNM2010

    Lets not forget who is supporting the push for all of us to be GMO addicts: Yea – let’s vote for Obama. Congrats – if you voted for him, you support GMOs. He brought in the head of Monsanto to control your food.

  • D

    i guess if DOW, SYNGENTA AND DUPONT like to poison da ‘aina, then i guess they haven’t really LIVED there to know. they haven’t stood in our shoes to even sink in the fact that were not living in paradise- were living in a swamp of poison. nice campaign guys! Malama da ‘aina!