What I learned Today …

This lessons spans a few days.  A couple weeks ago I heard this story about the rise of urban bee keepers.   This increase is a good thing for bees and agriculture, but the uncoordinated effort of keeping bees in urban areas where there may not be enough food for them is also problematic.  So before you decide to get your own colony, you want to find out how many other colonies are in the area.

thIf you have been completely sheltered around 2006 or so, then it could be possible that you don’t know about the decline of bees.  Researchers still aren’t completely sure on what is going on, but there does seem to be a link with pesticide use, and pollution.

Then today, I heard a TED Talk about the importance of bees and the cause of their recent decline.  I knew bees were important, but I didn’t know that 1/3 of food in the U.S. is grown with the help of bee pollinators.   This talk gives a simple way to help bees.  Plant more flowers!  This will give more food for the colonies to thrive and bee keepers can keep their colonies.  And it will make our neighborhoods more attractive too.  Who wants to mow the grass, and

Almonds rely solely on bees to product their nuts, many other fruits and vegetables.  Maybe you can live without brussels spouts, but personally I don’t want to give up my watermelon, avocados, or kiwifruit.  Oh yeah, don’t forget about delicious honey!  It’s an essential ingredient in your favorite breakfast cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios.  It’s not just our food that relies on bees.  Next time you’re eating meat or dairy, that hay or alfalfa to feed the animal was grown with bee pollinators.  Now we listen to Noah Wilson’s TED Talk and he explains his research on how to make bees healthier.

You know what else helps our crops grow?  I can’t even bring myself to write the name of this byproduct of natural decomposition.  Let me just say, the millions of gallons of this byproduct was shipped from NYC to Colorado because it was so helpful on the farm.  But now, it’s cheaper to add it to a landfill.  I think it’s safe to say, you make a little everyday yourself.  It’s the same idea as this description of how whales complete the circle of life and produce the nutrient that their own food needs to thrive.