Bees at the City Council?

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If I were going to think like a bee, I would imagine bubbles above their heads as they raced off into the sunlit morning, their golden bodies shimmering.

“Maeve, there it is!  There’s that patch of flowers!”.

“What?  O yes, I see it.  Let’s go, Stella!”

“bzzzz. These flowers taste funny.  This nectar tastes a little bit like the inside of an ash tray, Maeve. What d’ya think?”

“You know, I don’t really care, Stella. There are so few flowers out there with nectar right now. It’s a nectar wasteland. It’s getting cold. I’m starving. I’ll take anything”.

Yes, just a tad anthropomorphic.  Macabre humor.  Maeve and Stella are bees drinking nectar with neonicotinoids, those lovely insecticides by the big boys—-manufacturers such as Syngenta and Bayer.  Bee deaths have been indicted by beekeepers and farmers in the European Unionand the the government has moved to restrict neonics, pending further research. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-22335520).  It’s called the “precautionary principle”.

Tomorrow I go before the City Council to speak out about the possibilities of making Albuquerque a bee friendly city. http://www.beecityusa.org/

Yes, I’m going to have to do it. Along with the friendly bonhomie about those little movie stars, the bees, I’m going to have to name the elephant in the room.  Any city  willing to become friendlier to pollinators must look at it. We must fast forward to the 21st century and come out of the closet about….pesticides. Bees have become the poster children for their impact. As gratis pollinators, they are a major player in our food system.  We would be deluding ourselves if we think what harms the bees is absolutely benign for humans.

Some cities have actually done it.  They have managed to reduce or eliminate heavy pesticide use from RoundUp to Neonicotinoids, by using intensive mechanical means of removing plants (short hand for hiring people to pull weeds the good old fashioned way), to planting lots of new native pollinating plants and attracting beneficial bugs.  They’ve also gotten rid of the misguided idea that nature has to be nice, neat, manicured, domesticated looking. Perhaps they’ve come to some conclusion that weeds (like the much maligned dandelion) are actually fabulous pollinator habitat. Here’s a short list:

Ypsilanti Michigan, Takoma Park, MD, Ashville, N.C., Boulder, CO (no surprise there), Seattle, WA.

And most of those are places that actually have lots of rain and green space.

Wish me luck. Bzzz.

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