While discussing Earth Day with a friend, I found out some very interesting news. Bees are to environmental quality as the groundhog is to springtime, so why did it take me until my 20’s to learn that bees were a critical component in my everyday life? Well maybe I did have some sort of an idea as I have proudly proclaimed by addition to Burt’s Bee chapstick since 2001, but let’s get back to what the buzz is all about. This Friday is all about our black and yellow flying friends and their decline on Planet Earth.
1. Pesticide Misuse – Even though it is a violation to apply pesticides to most crops during bloom, applications during this time is beyond frequent. A pesticide cocktail is likely to cause damage to a bee’s sense of direction, memory or even cause death.
2. Opening Up of Trade – Diseases and parasites are easily passed from region to region since the opening up of trade internationally. I wish there were a simple solution to this. How could we manage diseases and parasites coming across with?. Global Warming – Bees just cannot keep up to the ever changing climate.
4. Air pollution – As if it isn’t bad enough for our lungs and pores, air pollution inhibits the ability of bees to find the fragrances of flowers which causes them to travel incredibly long distances to find the nectar they need to survive.
5. Hive Destruction – I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of this. After my mom was attacked by Africanized killer bees while on a jog , my family has pretty much put a restraining order on bees demanding they keep more than 100 yards away. My poor mother still does a panic dance whenever she hears a ‘bzzzzz’. As entertaining as this is, I would do the same if I had a doctor pulling stingers out of my head days later. Ouch!
1. It is suggested that as many as 20,000 flowering plant species could go extinct.
2. 70 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees
3. These 70 crops contribute an estimated $200 billion a year to the global economy.
4. The global population is growing and about 1/6th of the world’s population goes hungry each day. I cannot even fathom what that fraction would look like if bees did not exist.
5. Bees provide us with food and lots of it. End of discussion.
1. Create a Habitat – Ensure you have flowers and plants in bloom. Why not use this as an excuse to start a community garden project or teach children about organic farming on their own terrace? Herbs are quick and easy to plant and always taste scrumptious in dishes. Strawberries were my favorite thing to grown (and then eat with lots of whipped cream) when I was a child, and just like herbs they require little maintenance and can be kept in a pot.
2. Quit being a nest wrecker. This includes you, Mom!
3. Get involved with programs such as Haagen-Dazs’ ‘Help the Honey Bees’ or join the Save the Bees India Facebook page to find local initiatives.
4. Buy local honey, honey. Check out the Farmer’s Market in Bandra for some sweetly made sweet stuff.
5. Spread the word.