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Mangrove trees poisoned, left to rot

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By Sydney Ross Singer

There is a new type of disease that has gained a frightening foothoold in Hawaii. It affects the mind, filling it with hate and rage, intolerance and paranoia, and leads to violence and acts of cruelty.

Animals are slaughtered in cold blood, burned to death, or poisoned. Plants are ripped out by the roots or killed with herbicide. Entire areas are bulldozed to kill all that lives.

Worst of all, those doing this destruction feel no remorse or conscience, since this disease fills their minds with a sense of self-righteousness, determination, and aggression, so much so that others stand by in silence and fear as they watch the destruction.

This disease is now causing people to attack the mangroves on the Big Island. They are being poisoned as an experiment, with the help of Monsanto, and are left to rot in place, polluting the water as they decay.

Fish will die, nesting birds and other animals will be harmed, and the environment will look diseased. The attack is already underway, with only a few mangrove locations, such as Pohoiki, still scheduled for assault.

Why attack mangroves? Haven’t they been in Hawaii for over 100 years, brought here to help the environment? Don’t they clean the water and protect against storm surge? Aren’t they protected around the world for their importance to the preservation of coastlines? Don’t they create an important environment for fish and other life? Aren’t they beautiful and interesting trees that add to the biodiversity of our island?

The answer is yes. Then why are they being targetted for eradication?

It is because they are “alien” and “don’t belong here”, according to those attacking them. They cite unpublished observations that suggest mangroves are bad for native fish. They don’t care about collateral damage to fish or other wildlife caused by poisoning the mangroves, since most of the victims are also “alien”.

For them, the rot and smelly pollution of poisoned mangroves is preferable to allowing these “invasive alien intruders that can take over the islands”.

The disease is not new. It has manifested before as violence and hatred against blacks, Jews, gays, haoles, or anyone else considered different or “alien”. It is a xenophobia that has caused uncountable bloodshed and wars.

But now this disease has taken on a new target – the environment, along with the animals and plants that live in it. It is a bio-xenophobia, and it is causing immense destruction to ecosystems, attacking plants and animals whose sole “crime” is that they came to Hawaii from somewhere else.

Instead of white supremacism, Hawaii suffers from species supremacism. It has the naïve goal of returning the islands to the way they were 400 years ago.

This species supremacism has taken over and destroyed the environmental movement whose goal had been to save the environment from development and pollution. Now, aggressive and angry “environmentalists” seek out alien species to destroy.

Invasive Species Committees have organized, which are species supremacist groups that have partnered with the government. They have put laws in the books to force property owners to comply with their eradication efforts, and punish those harboring “aliens”.

The environment is no longer seen as good so long as it is clean, healthy and filled with wildlife. Now, the wildlife itself is targetted for destruction, including birds, lizards, insects, mammals, trees, fish, frogs, flowering bushes, and any other life form that was not originally in Hawaii prior to Western contact.

Never mind that we live on an island, and that everything had to come here from somewhere else on the planet. Everything living in Hawaii had been introduced one way or another. The species revered by native supremacists were themselves once immigrants. Killing species that have come to Hawaii over the past centuries will not return the islands to some “native” state. There really is no going back.

But ardent species supremacists are blinded by their passion, and will attack any species, even those that give food (such as cattle, pigs, strawberry guava and passionfruit), even by using experimental poisons and diseases (biocontrol), all in the name of environmental cleansing.

With a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (which should not be giving money for such things), a small environmental group set out to destroy mangroves in Vacationland in Kapoho, which is zoned conservation land. Private property owners were notified, but the public was not, even though the mangroves are at the high tide mark and are therefore on public land. Never before were so many mangroves poisoned at once and left to rot in place.

It is a test of a Monsanto herbicide, with the misnomer “Habitat”, to see what it would do to the mangroves, aquatic life, and the overall environment. Monsanto donated the poison.

Soon after, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife gave another grant to Malama o Puna to attack all the other mangroves on the Big Island. Several agencies were contacted, including the Hawaii Department of Health, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the County of Hawaii. All allowed this experiment to continue with no environmental assessment (EA).

This means that there was no way for the public to be intelligently informed about this mangrove eradication plan, it methods, its rationale, the potential adverse impacts to the environment and public, and it denied the right of citizens to comment on proposed changes to our environment. (Hawaii Revised Statute 343 requires an EA when state or county land or funds are used or when the land is shoreline or zoned conservation. Federal law would also require an EA since federal funding were also used.)

We must not allow these people to continue their defilement of our environment in the name of species cleansing. We must demand that the public be given a say in what happens to public land, public trees, and public animals. We must stand up to government corruption that looks the other way, and even encourages these deadly deeds without proper legal and scientific review and public comment.

Most importantly, we must reject the very notion that some species should be eradicated simply because they are not “native”. In human affairs we call this ethnic cleansing and genocide, and we have seen how ugly it is. It is no less ugly when unleashed on a plant or animal.

Sydney Ross Singer is a medical anthropologist, Director of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, and co-author of the numerous groundbreaking books exposing the cultural/lifestyle causes of disease, including the bestseller, Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras (Avery/Penguin Putnam, 1995; ISCD Press, 2005). He works with his wife and assistant, Soma Grismaijer, and offers an online do-it-yourself lifestyle research website,

Sydney Ross Singer can be reached at the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, P.O. Box 1880, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778 (808) 935-5563.

5 Responses to “Mangrove trees poisoned, left to rot”

  1. No Sympathy says:

    What a load of over-the-top nonsense. Singer brings new meaning to the term “Punatic”. At least the HTH had the good sense to stop printing this garbage.

  2. Ann says:

    I am project manager for the Big Island mangrove eradication, and hate and rage could not be farther from my feelings and motivation. I do this work because I love life, particularly the unique and imperiled life that evolved on our island home and that exists nowhere else. I do not get paid, but I sought funding in order to hire community members to do meaningful work that improves our environment. Mr. Singer’s portrayal of conservationists is a gross mischaracterization–it fits no one I know in the conservation community.

    Mr Singer’s article is factually incorrect: eg, BASF, not Monsanto, makes Habitat herbicide and BASF donated some for our initial trials. There are plenty of published papers on the detrimental effects of mangroves on water quality and wildlife in Hawai’i: they cause water stagnation, sedimentation, nutrient loading, anoxia, hypersalinization, and they destroy nesting habitat of all 4 endangered endemic shorebirds.

    Anyone who wants to see what it is like to try to access the coast through a mangrove thicket can visit the NE end of Isaac Hale County Park at Poho’iki, and note how vast is the area of mangrove keiki, soon to be thicket. I would happily give a tour of Wai ‘Opae to anyone who wants to see the site of our first and largest eradication, where milo is filling in and we are about to start planting hala and naupaka to replace the mangroves. Already there is a lot less stinky muck than there was before we started killing the mangroves. Contact me at

    • James says:

      Why was no public comment or environmental assessment done? And don’t say the mangroves are threatening the Big Island. In total, there are only 15 acres of mangroves on the entire island. This is not your environment to redefine and poison and experiment on as you wish. You have no right to do this. And leaving the trees to rot, poisoned, is not environmentally sound. There are few enough trees that they could have been removed if it was so necessary to do so.

      As Singer said, your approach is self-righteous and arrogant.


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