“It is useless to attempt to preserve a living species unless the kind of land or water it requires is also preserved. So delicately interwoven are the relationships that when we disturb one thread of the community fabric we alter it all — perhaps almost imperceptibly, perhaps so drastically that destruction follows.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
Often, when I discuss and explain climate change, I keep in mind and regularly share, Rachel Carson’s reminders about the inter-connectedness of our natural world, and how pulling “one thread” can unravel us all. “Connecting the dots” is something we must always do, as siloing climate change as strictly an “environmental issue” sends the wrong message and doesn’t offer broad enough solutions. In a similar way the decline of our pollinators, bees and butterflies, mustn’t be put into a silo, but rather connected to all that is happening around us.
While scientists have yet to pinpoint exactly what is causing the collapse of bee colonies around the world, many reasons are known, and the importance of bees to our food security and our world, is without question. New research released on November 6th, also clearly points to how climate change is contributing to this collapse. Dr Karen Robbirt, University of East Anglia (UEA) said the research, published in Current Biology, is “the first clear example, supported by long-term data, of the potential for climate change to disrupt critical [pollination] relationships between species.”
With three-quarters of all food crops relying on pollination, and bees and other pollinators suffering heavily in recent decades from disease, pesticide use and the widespread loss of the flowery habitats on which they feed, connecting the dots to our changing climate compounds the devastation. But once we know what’s happening there are steps we can take to change things.
So, adding to the hope and the positive column we are thrilled to share an exciting project by our friends at Cascadian Farm, just in time for the holidays the “Bee-Friendlier” program launched in October 2014, helps us, help bee colonies, fight back! “According to a recent survey conducted by Cascadian Farm, more than 60 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with colony loss, the phenomenon characterized by honey bees abandoning their hives, never to return. Beyond honey bees, one-third of America’s native bumble bee species are now at risk of extinction.” So, while our Climate Mamas and Papas may be “in the know on what is going on” many of our friends and neighbors are clearly, not.
Grab the kids in your life and share this fun video, Bee-Friendlier Flower Bombing, with them, and spread some climate hope! Then share the link to the Bee-Friendler website with your family, friends and neighbors to help them get educated and also learn how they can get involved.
Consider also entering the “Bee Booth” take a selfie (I did!) and share it, and Cascadian Farm will donate to help bees thrive.
We started this post with a quote from Rachel Carson, and her seminal work, Silent Spring we will end with one that has a lot of meaning for us, as well.
“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
Join us on the road less travelled, and in this case it isn’t such a hard path to traverse. Depending on where you live, you can still plant seeds for wildflowers that will come to life in the spring and help our pollinators on their journey and with their hard work. Or, if it’s already too cold where you live, then make sure to put “planting wildflowers” on your calendar for the spring.
The community I live in is planning to do just this in a new park that was recently acquired through local and state “open space” funds. Also, we are formulating a plan to plant wild flowers along railroad tracks that pass through our town. Wildflowers and milkweed for monarchs can grow anywhere, and don’t need a large patch of ground.
It’s important to remind ourselves that not all the solutions and answers to our climate crisis are huge ones..and everything is connected. Help us connect the dots, please share the story of our pollinators struggles, flower bombing and how we we all can play a role by becoming part of the solutions!
Bee Photo Credit: “Pollinationn” by Louise Docker – http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/6105263663. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pollinationn.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Pollinationn.jpg