On a recent trip through Hawai’i as a guest of Hawai‘i Seed, Jonathan Latham, Director of the Project, talked at the University of Hawai’i.
Industrial agriculture is logically dependent on infringing on the quality of life, often catastrophically, of diverse creatures. The islands comprising Hawai’i exhibit those harms perhaps more than anywhere else on earth. Using new revelations of the Poison Papers (www.poisonpapers.org) as examples of how regulators fail to protect us I discuss the true extent of those toxic impacts. Even without revelations such as the Poison Papers however, we already know enough to stop supporting industrial agriculture, yet governments continue to do so, showering them with subsidies and other incentives. The reasons they decide wrongly are in part about economics and in part about scientific corruption; but here I point to an underlying conceptual flaw in our collective cultural understanding of life itself. Critiquing our standard, but illogical, modern interpretation of the nature of life is an overlooked key to understanding the the tragic and disastrous policies and practices prevailing in agriculture. But immediately obvious too is that the misunderstanding of life pervades much more broadly–into the justice system, into education, and into healthcare, to name just a few of those domains.