Waste not, want not

Tomorrow SB103 on restricting the class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, is headed to the Tax, Business and Transportation Committee – https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Standing_Committee?CommitteeCode=STBTC. Please call or contact these senators. Neonicotinoids have been widely indicted for acute bee kills and cumulative toxins that build up over time in the hive and bring a hive to its demise.

Early this morning our smallest, snuggly cat, a very stealth killing machine, escaped the house without her Birdbessafe collar. The cats look ridiculously cute in them. Kind of like little court jesters or cats of a royal household. But they hate them. It interferes with their work.

Not surprisingly, within a half hour she came back with a black headed junco. My blood boiled. I had no one to be angry at but myself. Birdsbesafe collars have evidently been shown to reduce cat/bird interactions and fatalities up to 80%. Who am I kidding? It’s the cat’s instinct. So I strap on their collars and set them free for at least 1/2 – 3 hours each day. Like humans, all creatures need fresh air, a place and time to be cat-like, sniffing, leaping and unencumbered by humans.

My cat has shown she is meticulous in cleaning the bones and eating every part of her prey except the feathers. She does her work with precision and she knows what she needs. A cat with poor kidney function sometimes needs wild caught food. She does not waste her prey when she has a chance—–which is usually only once in a blue moon. She does not catch and release. She uses that wild wisdom to strengthen her body.

What does this have to do with bees, you might ask?

Bees also do not waste anything. They are essential workers. Front line workers that pollinate the food and flowers we love so much. You will see them out and about, gathering and collecting pollen, nectar and sap for propolizing. They use everything from our backyard gardens and green spaces, turning it into gold. Like little alchemists, they use our environment for making food, medicine and guerrilla style glue with their propolis from sap.

That is why it is so important to safeguard them as they come out of their long (or short) winter dormancy, usually weakened and vulnerable. Here’s what I recently posted on my Next Door Neighborhood website:

Pre-Emergement herbicides. You’ll notice this time of year a sickly yellow-green cover on many rock surfaces, sidewalks or just sprayed on plain dirt. As someone who is working on pesticide issues at the legislature and with the New Mexico Beekeepers Association, I encourage you to read up on alternatives. Domestic and wild animals, birds and human shoes will track this around the neighborhood, into your home, workplace, etc. Cats will lick their paws and ingest it. Here’s an article for alternatives: https://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/alternatives/factsheets/Least%20toxic%20control%20of%20weeds.pdf A simple list is to check off first if you wish to suppress weeds is: mechanical( e.g. pull the weeds, burn them, suppress with plastic, boiling water), biological (goats/geese!), least toxic application(gardeners vinegar, corn gluten meal). Glyphosates, which are in post emergent herbicides like RoundUp, degrade the soil, destroy microbes, get into the ecological chain and become low grade and perennially toxic cumulatively—for human and all living creatures.

Bees as essential workers might be a new concept. It shouldn’t be. They’ve been front line, trench workers since time immemorial. They are the donkeys of the food system, i.e. the workhorses, downtrodden, mistreated, misunderstood. During COVID 19, we’ve very clearly seen the disparity between how we care for and pay front line workers vs. Wall Street moguls and CEO’s. Should we be surprised? Money speaks.

However, the only truly valuable things usually have nothing to do with money—though I’m not against money when it’s justly doled out so all can live well. My belief is that if we put our money towards preserving clean air, water, food, good health and a respected planet, then we would understand this is where our real wealth and economy lies. We don’t protect or even remotely safeguard the raw ingredients of the environment in our ag sector that bees use to turn straw into gold (think, the child’s fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin). We do have control of choices in our backyards and households. Yet, we’ve all been sold a lie by the chemical companies. That the only way to “control” our environment is to stamp out and kill everything that doesn’t “serve us”. We are awash with chemicals. Meanwhile, multi-nationals chemical corporations are making a killing from our pocketbooks, while we slowly poison ourselves.

We have become a society that “cuts off our nose to spite our face”. The bug apocalypse is one vision of this wrong headed thinking. Humanity seems to lack the precautionary principle to do no harm, particularly in the agricultural sector. We are facing the collapse of our ecosystems because we have poisoned the “least among us”, thinking they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Turns out bugs are the basic building blocks of our ecosystem, food for many mammals. Mother Earth has her own checks and balances of beneficial insects, birds and bats that prey on the non-beneficials. Might be good to provide habitat for these guys to re-balance our ecosystem without harming the whole web of life. Perhaps what we need is more re-wilding (thanks to my friend Todd for this word) of our habits, tendencies, thoughts.

Tomorrow SB103 on restricting neonicotinoids, is headed to the Tax, Business and Transportation Committee – https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Standing_Committee?CommitteeCode=STBTC. Please call or contact these senators. Neonicotinoids have been widely indicted for acute bee kills and cumulative toxins that build up over time in the hive and bring a hive to its demise.

Contact your representatives. It’s the least we can do for the least of these. What harms the bees, harms all of us.

#beehealth #noneonics #beessentialworkers

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