My dear friend and uber-writer Susie Soper penned this enlightening discussion of (almost) everything you wanted to know about reproduction..and pollination. Happy Birthday, Susie — $100 goes to PP for you!
My message is short and sweet: Save the bees! Eat more honey! Support the Pollinator Partnership! http://pollinator.org
Why? Because birds, bees and other pollinators are responsible for as much as every third bite we eat — the best part of our diets: fresh fruits and vegetables. According to Pollinator, more than 80 percent of the world’s crops require pollination. But declines in the health and population of pollinators across the world pose what could be a significant threat to biodiversity, global food webs, and our health.
It’s not just bees that are responsible for all the sexy pistil & stamen action, transferring pollen between seed plants. Birds, butterflies, even bats and mosquitoes can also do the trick, but it’s the bees that have been in trouble in recent years and sadly, there is no Bumble Viagra on the horizon. Colony Collapse Disorder has affected colonies all over the world and while exact causes of bee death are unknown, scientists’ speculations range from insect diseases to pest control and even cell phone radiation, although there have been signs of recent improvement.
Far be it from me to figure all this out, but once I became addicted to Greek yogurt (Fage is my brand of choice) with broken-up walnuts and a drizzle of honey, I began paying more attention – not just to bees but to honeys made with everything from alfalfa to kudzu. In fact, I was so taken with Weeks Honey Farm in Omega, GA (Mr. Weeks sold a dizzying array of honey flavors at the St. Philips Market in Atlanta), that I gave bottles of the golden nectar for the holidays (Bee Merry!), along with a donation to pollinator.org.
The Pollinator Partnership is under the umbrella of the non-profit Coevolution Institute in San Francisco and is tasked with protecting pollinators through the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC). On the beautiful website, there is enough info to satisfy the armchair scientist or impassioned gardener; a wildly folksy video and if that’s more than you need, just make a bee-line over to check out the pollination posters and gifts. There’s even a cell phone ringtone (chose between Honey Bee or Bumble Bee – both of which are hilarious because they are so subtle and sleep-inducing, you’ll never even have to put your phone on vibrate) and both support the cause when someone gives you a buzz.
As a perfect ending to this story, I heard a stunningly apt poem this morning on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/ written by Julie Cadwallader Staub and read by the incomparable Garrison Keillor. It’s about bees and honey, and here’s just a tiny taste:
“dont’ we yearn for a land of milk and honey?
don’t we call our loved ones “honey?”
all because bees just do, over and over again, what they were made to do.”