Dustin Barca’s fight against corpo heavyweight Monsanto has only just begun.
Kauai’s Dustin Barca is in the fight of his life against the world’s largest genetically modified organism (GMO) food producer, Monsanto. The former pro surfer and mixed martial arts fighter is sticking it to the corporate giant who he vehemently believes is poisoning his homeland with pesticides. Barca has become a community leader, a protest organiser, a social media agitator and very nearly a politician. If he can maintain the stamina he’s a good chance to beat Monsanto in a point’s decision by round twelve. Here’s why:
1. He’s a fighter, a leader, a stayer. Anyone who can spur the cruisey surf community into action has got some serious motivational chops. Barca launched his anti GMO campaign with a two man protest at last year’s Pipe Masters and hasn’t stopped since. He’s led rallies, spoken at media functions, waged social media war and is gaining an army of supporters. Barca’s landing punches and moving fast. Already he’s helped get a bill passed which regulates pesticide use and has run for mayor (he won the majority of votes on Kauai’s North Shore). His background as an underprivileged battler, hard-done by pro surfer and MMO fighter would suggest he doesn’t give in easily. Or perhaps ever.
2. Global backlash. Monsanto haven’t just angered a bunch of Hawaiian farmers and surfers. They’re fighting battles all around the world – in the courts and in the streets. For many their name is synonymous with corporate bullying, environmental degradation and reckless money-grabbing. The company that manufactured Agent Orange, DDT and bovine growth hormone haven’t done much to improve their reputation since. They’ve sued scores of small American farmers into insolvency and have been blamed for the suicide deaths of tens of thousands of Indian farmers (bankrupted by Biotech farming), among many other heinous acts.
3. Playing God creeps people out. Monsanto argue that GMOs are beneficial because they can produce more food on an increasingly crowded planet. Strangely they keep many of their practises closely guarded secrets and are against GMO labels on food products. Long term outcomes for human health are largely unknown and many worry what sort of future they are creating. “The transformation of plant genetics is being accelerated from the measured pace of biological evolution to the speed of the next quarter's earnings report,” writes author Amery Lobbins.
4. Greenpeace is in his corner. Greenpeace, the world’s most influential green group, firmly believe GMO’s are a danger to the environment and human health and have prosecuted this argument for many years. Normally Greenpeace stick to placard waving but GMOs have them fired right up. In 2011 a group of Greenpeace activists broke into and completely destroyed a GM crop planted by the CSIRO.
5. The revolution really is coming. You don’t need to be whip-smart to know that a growth-based global economy is at odds with a planet that refuses to get any bigger. It’s an imbalance that cannot continue. Things will change or they will collapse. Corporate greed, environmental degradation and government corruption are all manifestations of a broken system. Companies like Monsanto, who represent all of the above problems for many people, are already feeling the heat. In 2013 a protest against Monsanto and other GMO companies led to actions in 52 countries, 436 cities and attracted two million people according to its organisers.