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Saturday, July 19, 2008


Economic self-interest can inspire green action, or at least pro-green websites.

You've read all of those articles about how bees are dying, right? RIGHT? Well, you'll read more of them soon, starting... right now. Un-busy bees a disaster for almost everyone (, 6/27/08) is bound to be part of an increasing trend, now that the bee decline is affecting some companies' bottom lines.
The folks at Haagen-Dazs are worried enough that they and others have mounted a campaign to halt the shocking decline of honeybees and other pollinators of strawberry plants, almond trees and the rest of the roughly 90 percent of terrestrial plant life that needs pollination.


Officials of the Oakland company told Congress on Thursday that more than 40 percent of its product's flavors, derived from fruits and nuts, depend on honeybees. Without bees, fruits and nuts cannot exist.
Of course, this isn't really about ice cream, even if they have come up with a flavor specifically about this problem, and an educational website, This is actually a very serious symptom of a large collection of bad environmental practices which have been hurting us in what, to many people, are non-obvious ways.

This is appearing more prominently in the papers because of concern about money, the U.S.' one true religion.
Fruits, nuts, seeds and many vegetables are the foundation of California's $34 billion agricultural industry, the nation's largest, and the basis of a healthy human diet. About a third of human food requires pollination. The plants cannot grow without it.
The nice thing about this reporting trend, is that the problem bees are having is not merely reported as a scientific abstraction: it is now YOUR problem, and an economic problem. Maybe we really ARE all in this together.


Related website: pollinator,org, "Your Source for Pollinator Information." Because you don't have a source for pollinator information bookmarked yet, do you? When this site is ready for prime time, it will provide lists of plants you can put in your garden to provide pollinators with diverse food sources, to help balance out some of our society's meta-damage. We need meta-solutions urgently as well, but those won't make you feel like an activist in your private life.

Yes, it is nice to have vast agribusiness monocultures and widespread pesticide contamination of nature written about as problems rather than as scientific progress.


posted by Arlene (Beth)12:10 AM

Monday, July 30, 2007

  Bees [heart] borage. I grow fresh herbs in my garden for cooking: two kinds of oregano, rosemary, marjoram, lemon thyme... The flavors and aromas are just so much bolder and cleaner-tasting when herbs have been plucked during cooking, it is irresistable. Even here in our damp neighborhood, when the trees are dripping with summer fog, there are plenty of herbs that thrive in my garden.

This year, in addition to adding delicious red lettuces, parsley, cilantro (again - even the flowers smell delicious), garlic chives, and purple beans (which have been overshadowed, sadly), I started a few medicinal plants from seed: rue and borage. Both are lovely plants, and both were very easy to germinate and grow. Most of the delicate rue plants have been eaten by critters, but the borage is taking over the garden. And I have never seen so many bees in the garden at one time. The wasp-shaped striped bees, the black fuzzy bees with just two yellow stripes - they can always be found working the borage, even in the early evening when I'm out choosing herbs at dinner. It's lovely to watch them, moving from flower to flower, rear legs covered with pollen... It's very satisfying to give the bees that pollinate our other plants something that they seem to especially enjoy.

If they were any more excited, I'd be expecting Christmas presents from them...

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 AM

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