One for the Bees

Victory, most probably pyrrhic, for the bees last week in a San Francisco Court that ruled against the EPA’s approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, specifically sulfoxaflor, a Dow chemical product that confuses bees flight patterns, according to the New Scientist. Apparently succumbing to “public pressure” (Dow’s money and agricultural lobby?), the EPA approved the use of the chemical without enough viable support, tactfully stated as “flawed data.” This despite the known harm to not only bees but all pollinators, other insects and even birds.

The upshot: Fuck the bees. There’s money to be made.

But can we live without the bees?

They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops.

The battle for the bee is not won, however. Though one of these nenicotinoids have been banned in the U.S., they have not been banned in Europe or elsewhere. Bees do not stay in one place. And other harmful pesticides are still in use–just not sulfoxaflor.

And while pesticides are only one of the causes for the dwindling bee population, they are a big contributor, one that can be controlled by human intervention. So hooray for the court’s decision last week, but so much more needs to be done.

Who will speak for the bees?

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Workhorses of a seething-bustling, 
strange, 
misunderstood 
and alien world that we barely see
its glory and gore
acidic stew of swallow
and cilia claws 
burrowed below
but for the infrequent frightful protrusion,
intrusion,
extrusion, 
threatening a sting, 
a bite 
or a siphon
sipping the living juices of us,
savagery in the encounter.
 
And yet they sustain those who would crush them,
self-defense or not, 
fill the undergirding of our world with germinating life, 
exchange and commerce in wildflowers of the fields, 
manicured gardens of urban rooftops 
and edges of the sand dunes. 
They nourish us with sweet meats 
of the trees 
and gifts of the earth’s panoply of gallant beauties
pageantry of roses, peonies and daffodils,
and green godly goodness of cabbage cool,
beans of the vine
and broccoli floret 
walnuts
almonds
Brazils
the browns of nutty seas.
You, pinpoint friend, swap the day away, 
flitting from one sweet hollow to the next 
wearing, 
ingesting, 
carrying 
and dusting yourself with your wares, 
plying your trade 
and all we breathe better for it
and eat 
and expire
respire by your daily toil, 
though your armies are micro
populated,
though thinning, 
smallest of the small, 
and most benign. 
Some will warn
look away
not to watch,
not to near 
or interfere
or swat 
our swelling flesh worse for the encounter.
Carpenters of the Carribbean, 
homed amid the yuccas 
and woods 
while others gnaw at our backyard decks right here. 
Crow swims in sunflowers and black-eyed Susans, 
carpeting himself the golden sun, 
while sumptuous sand specialists 
hang in the hills of North Carolina 
or the Eastern Shore dunes, 
skimming the edges for life. 
Affable-bliss, 
drunkard, 
drinks from his nose of a tongue, 
buzzing about the Badlands, 
sucking up sweets from the wells of bells, 
trumpet trollops of honey delight, 
a piña colada of rum and pineapple pollen bits.  
But big old bombus and Metallica and modest-us, 
modest in size, 
half a rice grain wide, 
who carries her goods inside, 
a vomitous gift 
her babies survive
or they die
too sick
sparse
poisoned
murdered
by un-notice
unseen
unheard
unfelt
turnaway.
Health of heart, 
health of earth, 
home to hordes
4000 kinds strong
all native North American
only 40 left home
to honeycomb here
home to homo-cides
ignorants
polluters
stung-greedy
core-less
suicides
who
deny
if they are we are.

Ban it

  
The California plastic ban that will be before voters in California next general election has been on my mind. Since I live in the only city that has repealed the ban after two years, I thought I would investigate the city council’s doings to earn such an honored historic distinction.

As usual, the war between environmentalists and big business wages. Environmentalists claim the plastic bags pollute and harm marine life. Big plastic says not so, and people will lose jobs if the ban is instituted.

No surprises in the world of politics. Both sides accuse one another of cheating, irresponsibility, and undue influence by monied folk, special interests. And so it goes.

In the end, it matters little the motivations–money or environment–behind the law so long as the law does what it is purported to do and people support it. The larger matter lies in individual responsibility to others, and not just with plastic.

When do we cross the line between a seemingly innocuous lack of consciousness of those around us–say, like my forgetting recycling bags–and conscious disregard of others? The “rugged individualism” (pride of this country’s founding generation and their progeny), pitted against the social contract based on a benevolence toward others with whom we live in society–an agreement to let live–always calls up that question. And not only for people.

Philosopher Peter Singer, in an interview with the New York Times opinionator blogger, George Yancy, earlier this year defined human disregard of animals’ as “speciesism,” when humans give “less weight to the interests of nonhuman animals than they give to the similar interests of human beings.”
Interests like survival in clean oceans, I imagine.
Whether we consider ourselves the shepherds of other species, a posture of assumed superiority, or we consider ourselves on par with other species and posit survival as the burden of each species, there is still a path that is neither too philosophical nor too patriotic. 
When we teach ourselves good habits, the correlative benefits to all society reverberate small and large. And we are such trainable creatures, we humans, if we have the will, both personal and political.
 

credit: http://vsknow1.com