It takes a heck of a lot of time, effort and frantic alarm for a species to land on the endangered species list. It takes a full 12 years on average, with some species’ approval taking as long as 38 years!
As you can imagine, that doesn’t bode well for the endangered species, or the planet. Friday’s approval of placing seven species of yellow-faced bees on the list took nearly 10 years.
What does this mean, for you, and me, and the bees?
It means that the government is painstakingly slow – bogged down by the lobbying antics of chemical companies, but alas, it has finally acknowledged the dire impact of the man-made destruction of our environment upon bees; something advocates have been trying to call to their attention for decades. Yes, the government notes it could be compounded by natural causes, but quickly points out that climate change is likely exasperating the process (thanks Big Ag!).
It’s also no secret that the massive use of pesticides, notably neonicotinoids, on crops and gardens, are killing bees off in masses – as well as the introduction, long ago, of non-native animals used for food, who are encroaching on their habitat.
The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has also recommended that the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee be listed as endangered, too. This bee pollinates wildflowers, cranberries, plums, apples, alfalfa and onion seeds. Anyone willing to give up those crops? Not I.
We’re not talking about the closing of a day-spa or bowling alley here. No bees = the catastrophic demise of our food supply. Considering there are over 795 million people who go hungry in the world each and every day, food isn’t something we can afford to be short on.
What can we do? Well, if you’re vegan, you’re already off to a good start in helping the bees; you don’t eat animal products, so you don’t support the unsustainable practices of Concentrated Agriculture Farming Operations and all the billions of pounds of pesticide-laden grain they use to feed the animals. Bravo!
Now let’s do a bit more:
The price of organic fruits and veggies can sometimes shoot through the roof, no doubt about it, but if you can afford it, and you can find it… buy it. Your local farmers’ market is a great place to look for organic produce at a fair price.
You can use the Environmental Working Group’s list to help guide you. If it’s on the “Clean 15” list – don’t worry so much. If it’s on the “Dirty Dozen (plus)” list – avoid non-organic, if you can.
2. Let your weeds grow
We have dandelions that are taller than I am in our garden. Their appeal is an acquired taste, like strong coffee or beer, but heck, the bees are worth it. I love watching them land on the little yellow flowers, which are only “weeds” because that’s what we’ve been told since childhood.
Other bee-friendly plants include: lavender, heather, bachelor buttons, sage, rosemary, and calendula. A quick search on google will bring up even more.
3. Stay informed
Even if you don’t have a garden, and can’t afford organic produce (I certainly can’t afford all organic), it’s easy to continue learning, and keep speaking out.
Follow the money trail. See where advisory committee members come from before they have the power to pass regulations, and see where they land when they “retire” from the job.
Watch educational films regarding pesticide use, such as The World According to Monsanto, and Food Inc. – and leave constructive comments on social media when the opportunity arises, so you can plant healthy seeds of compassion for others to learn from. Knowledge = Power.
“Bee” the change! [Sorry, couldn’t resist! lol]