Monday, July 13, 2009

Don't Sacrifice Our Native Forests Because Syd Singer Likes the Taste of Strawberry Guava

Damon published this "open letter" to Mayor Kenoi from Syd Singer, who calls himself a "Medical Anthropologist." Singer claims to speak for "thousands" of residents opposing release of a scale insect to control strawberry guava because they "enjoy" the fruit. Apparently the "thousands" are under the impression that the scale insect has wiped out strawberry guava in Brazil. It hasn't. People in Brazil are still able to enjoy the flavor.

Singer says "As the current economic recession drags on, more and more people will come to appreciate and rely on our wild foods." If Big Island residents become roving bands of hunter-gatherers, foraging for food in the forest, I submit that a few scale insects will be the least of our problems.

Despite his being a medical school dropout, Singer's website features medical advice galore. I have to admit I have some sympathy for his crusade to persuade women to stop wearings bras. I, uh, support his efforts in that regard for purely, uh, aesthetic reasons.

Hawaii's native forests are a treasure, in our hands to preserve for future generations. If we permit them to be destroyed, turned into impenetrable thickets of strawberry guava because we like the taste of the fruit, what superficial, selfish, spoiled little brats we would be. It's an infantile position.

One of the great things about this island is the tolerance of the off-beat, unconventional, and bizarre. That doesn't mean we should have pseudo-scientific cranks and charlatans setting our public policy, though.


Rob P. said...


Osifrage said...

I couldn't agree more. Anyone who has tried to eliminate Waiawi on even a small level knows how evil this stuff is. Hey I like to eat it as much as the next guy but I'm not trading my the native forests for jelly.

Tom said...

Good for you, John, well said, especially that last paragraph. I couldn't agree more.


Anonymous said...

The letter to Mayor Kenoi by Syd Singer was about the Forest Service insect quarantine facility in Volcano not being earthquake engineered and the need to know what insects are reared there. If there is an accidental release of these quarantined insects, we can have a disaster. Why don't you critics of Syd Singer read what he is writing about instead of attacking him personally like a bunch of idiots.

John Powell said...

"Disaster," eh? Wow, that sounds super-scary, "anonymous"!