Accidental Destruction by T.B.

One of the seven wonders of the world is officially dead.

The Great Barrier Reef was pronounced dead this year due to the fact that more than 30% of the coral is no longer living. The ocean is dying at an alarming rate and humans are the reason. We are killing off species, pumping garbage into the ocean, and not looking like we are going to stop any time soon. We are so reliant on the ocean that when it dies so will we. However it is not too late for the ocean and the human race.

Many species of dolphins, whales, manta rays and many more are extinct or on the verge all because of unnecessary human interaction. We are hunting and killing them to the point where they cannot, as a species, recover. Research shows that over 95% of dolphin deaths are directly attributed to man-related causes. At this rate it is estimated that Maui’s dolphin population will be extinct by the year 2030 if drastic changes are not put into place. Japan’s killing of whales and dolphins is leading to an insane plummet in both of their populations. In some countries the people sell these  animals and depend on them to keep their families afloat. In indonesia people hunt and kill manta rays for their gills only because that is an extremely valuable item there but these actions have put the manta rays on the endangered list.

Marcie Brewster encountered ocean pollution up close and personal. The self proclaimed ocean enthusiast grew up near the ocean and bay in Point Pleasant New Jersey. When asked if she ever encountered pollution she told me that it happened on multiple occasions. “It’s known as the armpit of America” she said referring to the ocean she grew up swimming in. Later she went on to explain how in 1991 a new york medical center took their waste a few miles of shore and dumped it. It then proceeded to wash up on shore in a giant heap of syringes and vials. When asked if she experienced any pollution up close she explained how pollution caused stinging jellyfish to infest the bay in her backyard. “I think it was because of the lawn fertilizer… I used to just dive off the barge and swim around, now I can’t without getting stung by multiple jellyfish”

There are many things we can do to help save the ocean and ourselves before it is too late. Reducing your energy use is extremely helpful, fossil fuels and carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere but eventually get absorbed by the ocean. Most researchers and scientists just viewed this as another great aspect the ocean offers but it comes at a cost. When the ocean absorbs those gasses it leads to a more acidic ocean which kills the coral, marine life, and the bacteria. So by reducing the amount of energy you will help the ocean tremendously. Another easy thing that helps our ocean is using less fertilizer. This will also reduce the amount of pollution that enters the ocean and kills almost everything. The most important thing you can do just so happens to be the easiest: tell a friend. By telling a friend you are raising the awareness of the problem and inadvertently working towards a solution.

Although it will be an uphill battle, the battle to save our ocean is a vital and extremely important task that we need everyone to do their part to help. If we all come together and work towards a common goal then I believe that we can get the ocean back on its feet and ultimately save the human race.

The Awakened Few by N.A.

There I stood arms up high my long winter hair flowing in the wind standing on the edge of the cliff overlooking the city i love. I’ve never felt more free and known more about who i was and why i am. The hardest questions in life sometimes have the simplest remedies for me how i face life is with a calm soul, awakened mind, and nature.

Nature is the Golden key to life and i treasure it with all i am. Humankind is a great race we have build skyscrapers and blocked mighty rivers but those forces keep us alive. The forest is untouched by the building hands of man its where you can go back and connect to everything and just think (mindfulness). The practice of slowing your mind is a excellent practice makes you think through your actions so when you go back to society you are level headed and make decisions with a clear not corrupted mind.

I asked Maggie Lucille Andrews what her take on this topic was.

Ms. Andrews age 23 lives in california is a ex cal poly mustang and a Weekend Warrior. She currently lives in San Luis Obispo where she teaches yoga and explores Big Sur often. Here is her take.

“I think that we become ourselves when we spend time in nature.We take the time to not only appreciate the world around us, but the way we exist and the role we have.” Said Maggie Andrews I asked Maggie Lucille Andrews what her take on this topic was.

Ms. Andrews age 23 lives in california is a ex cal poly mustang and a Weekend Warrior. She currently lives in San Luis Obispo where she teaches yoga and explores Big Sur often.

“I can say my spirit has been its happiest and most at ease and carefree when i’m outside.”  Said ms andrews in an interview after she went for a 13.5 mile run training to run her next adventure. She hasn’t always loved nature as a kid she hated rain, or anything not under a roof at home. Even through her fear she learned the power of nature and overcame her obstacles and now is encouraging others to embrace the outdoors.I asked ms. andrews what her favorite part of her new found love was she hit me with a sight i can’t unsee. “When you make it to the top of the peak and everyone’s silent and there eyes light up. That’s raw power of the spirit of nature and its effect on us all we have to do is seek it out and listen.” Ms. Andrews has found the power of nature in its fullest and has shown me a new way to see my surroundings. She also has taken we along on her adventure and i can say i’ve grown as a man, person, and a brother to her.

In the imortal words of john muir “ the clearest way into the universe is through a forest

Wilderness.”

Nature also has been proven to help us psychologically. A test by taking charge america proves that walking and being in nature lowers stress and improves our senses. Your eyes and smell receptors increase with the fresher air and open our heads and mind more than in a urban enviroment. This proves to me that nature is a mental and physical healer and we need to use our free resource of well being.

People need to not worry about life as much as we do. If you find that life’s getting hard and all you wanna do is go in your bed and never come back out go explore the vast adventure of the world around us. Go get Lost so you can be found again!

The Backstory of Honey Nut Cheerios by S.G.

Have you ever wondered what buzzes in the sky?
That sound you hear whenever you pass by.

The honey you buy from inside the store,

that strong, sweet smell when you walk in the door.

How does it get there? How do we know?

How do we find that fresh honey flow?

It comes from the bees floating in the air,

or in their nest, a tad smaller than a bear.

They buzz and they move all over town,

to make up the honey that’s always around.

However this one bee out of millions a ton,

decided his honey making business was done.

So he packed up his suitcase, and fleeded his shack,

and began his career without turning back.

The little bee was scared, he didn’t understand

how to be alone in the world like a little grain of sand.

He went off to find a job, house and a car

to take him to places weather near or far.

He worked and he lived alone until spring,

when he met another bee and bought her a ring.

One day he was working all alone in the store

When a human came in and spotted the bee on the floor.

The bee was in shock didn’t know what to say,

He just stood there like a statue, blocking the way.

Eventually the bee flew up to his eye,

and asked the human why he stopped by.

The human took a breath and started to say,

He needed some milk, to move on with his day.

The bee said follow me and started to fly,

to show the human the milk he could buy.

The human kept thinking, he looked so confused,

but for some reason, the bee was amused.

Eventually the human gained control of his mind,

He sat next to the bee, and started to unwind.

The human said to the bee, I found you at last,

Dreaming about the future, forgetting the past.

The human asked the bee to come work for him,

to be rich and famous, and have an assistant named Tim.

The bee jumped up, excited to see

For once he was more, than a silly old bee.

He packed up his things, got his wife and his car,

And began his new life as the Cheerios star!

You may see him on boxes, on shelves in stores

the first thing you see when you walk in the doors.

Next time you see the Cheerios can,

You’ll know how the bees career began.

Let this be a lesson to you and for all,

Never think you can’t because you are small

Wander by B.G.

 

I journey to the woods

Near the stroke of midnight

As I walk through darkness

I notice the lack of moonlight

The looming fear of the unknown reaches for my heart

Taunts and dances around my mind like a young child at play

My gut seems to climb faster than any mountain man ever has

The echoing sound of crunching gravel clouds my thoughts

Darkness

I ask myself

Why do i fear the darkness

It’s not the darkness itself

No

It’s the fear of the unknown

The fear of what the shadows conceal

It’s what lies unseen

A mystery

Man’s ultimate rivel

It’s the fear of the unknown

The hinderer of humankind

It reaches out

Taps me gently

Just enough to latch on

Closing in around me

Grasping me

Freezing me in time

As I feel darkness root into me

I stop to turn back on my journey

But from inside me a faint voice strains to say

“Fear is weak”

A mere man can battle it

To combat I go

with strong heart and a steady head

I strike fear

It falls

the emotion of cowards

Lays dead in its grave

Fear

Conquered

 

The Youngest Beekeeper by M.S.

 

“I want to be a beekeeper!” She shouts proudly clasping her hands together. “Hey Maya! Take a look!” As her fingers unravel a bee buzzes out seemingly confused flying around in circles around her. “I caught it on the hibiscus bush, cool right?” I stare blankly at her with my mouth partly opening gawking at what I had just witnessed. Bees? I was positively terrified. I had never been stung and I wasn’t planning on my first time come from a bee my very own sister aggravated. I always imagined one of those bees my sister caught to fly straight up to me and sting me on the face. But they never did. And in some magical way with all the bugs and creatures my sister has caught, not one has stung her. She’s like a bug whisperer.

As the bee loops on out of sight, I let out a breathe of air that I was holding in since I saw the infestation. I had just avoided what could have been a terrible catastrophe. “Maya! Get over here! There are so many bees!”

Spring. I hated spring. Especially in Massachusetts. I couldn’t handle all the bugs polluting our fresh air outside. Living right by a river, I always ended up being mosquito food the second I stepped foot outside. And mosquitoes loved me. But the real danger were the bees. I causally motioned over to the bloomed hibiscus bush we have on the side of our house. The house we lived in was the same age as me, give or take a few days, but every year on my birthday I celebrated the birth of the house too, and everything I loved about it. It made me feel connected to something surreal. I always thought it was funny that the house was so big, and I was still so small despite being the same age. The hibiscus bush has always been there for as long as I can remember, and every time I got home from school I’d be sure to check on it to make sure it was still alive and well.

Sure enough there it was, a colony of what seemed like a million bees infesting the beautiful hibiscus bush, and my sister was there having a gleeful time. I panicked, unsure of how to save the gorgeous flowers. “Isn’t this great, the bees are pollinating the flowers!” Pollinating? The bees are pollinating it? Dear god… they’re destroying it! It’s a disease! Save it! Hurry up and save it! My face grew red in fury and I started shaking. I knew all insects were the scum of the Earth, there is no such thing as a good bug! Above all, I couldn’t believe my sister was letting these beasts kill our hibiscus bush. I couldn’t take it anymore, and I found myself standing there confused, angry, and crying.

“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” My sister says in disbelief to my distress. “They’re just bees.” Through my blurry eyes and shaky palms I slowly lift my hands to point at a bee crawling into a flower. Her eyes widened once she realized what I was so worked up over, and she let out a chuckle. I bent my head down and started to rub the tears away.

“They’re helping the flowers.” She laughed. Her wisdom shocked me, freezing me. Helping? Could those disgusting things actually be helping this planet? There’s no way. They’re killing all things good. I looked up, ready to fight her with my own words of wisdom, but then she said something even more surprising than the last: “Bees are a huge part of keeping this land beautiful.” A bee crawled out of the flower all covered in yellow fuzz. I watched as it started to hover over the hibiscus as if to say thank you and goodbye!  It seemed almost… peaceful. As it flew along its merry way humming its song away from the bush, I inspected the flower, noticing everything was okay. “Pollination is nothing bad, Maya. You see, I love bees for all the busy hard work they do behind the scenes to keep the world intact. And no one ever thanks them for their work! In fact, just as much as the flower helps the bee, the bee also helps the flower.”

I couldn’t believe it, I mean I knew my sister was crazy, but there is no way she was crazy enough to make this stuff up. To my three year old brain, everything was unknown and everything unknown was evil, and that’s just how I thought. However as I watched the millions of bees swarm around the colors of the flowers, I saw a symphony to it, and knew just for once my sister was right. Maybe there was some good insects in the world. Maybe their is a harmony to our planet that needs these creatures. There has to be a reason for their existence besides just to annoy me. I mean, I guess if they aren’t doing any harm to the hibiscus bush, they can stay. For now. Just as long as they stay far, far, far away from me.

“You don’t welly wanna be a beekeeper do ya sis?” I the words slowly left my mouth as I questioned her.

“I can be anything I want to be, Maya, but bees sure are cool.”

My Solitary Confinement by E.M.

My Solitary Confinement

15 days of tears and pouring rain had passed by slower than any in my entire life. I still had another seven days to go before I could get back on an airplane and fly from Asheville, North Carolina to Boulder, Colorado. I had never missed the sharp peaks of the Rocky Mountains more in my entire life. I had been dreading this trip since I was six years old. My dad instructed the North Carolina Outward Bound school, or NCOBS, for 8 years and I am the fifth of his five children to attend this 22 day test of character and endurance. In the last 15 days, I had hiked almost 100 miles with a 50 pound backpack, and 12 backpacking companions from all over the world. They didn’t make very good companions though, because only three of them spoke English. I had been sleeping on dirt under a tarp, with nothing but a thin layer of plastic and a mediocre sleeping bag to keep me warm. It had been raining for the last eight days, and when it starts raining in the Smokey Mountains, it does not stop. At that point I was so close to strangling every other member of my “crew,” I needed some time alone. I had no idea what real alone time felt like, but I was about to find out.

I woke up on the 16th day of my 22 day trip ready to pack up camp and hike another 7 to 15 miles to our next campsite. That’s all we did all day; eat, hike, eat some more, and hike up and down more mountains and across more bridges until we finally found our next campsite. Blisters, cuts and bruises formed on everyone’s feet and ankles from the endless sea of vines, puddles and trails we had covered. However, this day was different. When we stopped for lunch, we were instructed not to put our backpacks back on. Puzzled, everyone looked at eachother and we moved off the trail to an open space in a wooded area. Our two instructors then handed out 6 ft X5ft  tarps with two pieces of peacord, sleeping bags, and toothbrushes with no further instructions. Then one by one, the instructors led each of us out into the dense woods, until we couldn’t see or hear them anymore. I was the second to last one to leave. I followed my mountain man of an instructor along a small creek until I reached a flat open area about 300 yards from where we had stopped for lunch. For the next two or three minutes, he explained how I would be left completely alone in the woods for the next three and a half days with no food, books, supplies or a watch. I was instructed to set up my tarp with the two strings I was given, and I was not allowed to leave the 10 ft X 10 ft area that had been cleared for safety purposes. He handed me a small bleach bottle and a water filter and walked away without another word. And that was it. I was completely alone in the woods of North Carolina.

The next couple of hours passed by quickly because I was busy contemplating the reality of what had just happened. I had never been alone for more than a few hours before, and even then I had things to entertain me. Here, I had nothing but the twigs and branches around me, and the dozens of spiders investigating the freshly cleared area. I could not see the sun through the dense tree tops, so I had no idea what time it could have possibly been. It felt like early evening, but there was no way to tell. Staring up at the green and brown canopy above me, I thought about what I was doing 15 days ago. I thought about hugging my mom and dad goodbye at the security gate in the A terminal at DIA, and then walking along the long skybridge to get to my gate all alone. I thought about the four hours I spent staring out the window of the plane, dreading sleeping on the damp ground of the North Carolina woods. I thought about my friends going to the pool and the fair, getting late night pizza and ice cream together while I was laying here all alone.

After waiting for what felt like three hours, but could have easily been 45 minutes, I started to get bored. I still had 73 hours left. I spent some time drawing pictures and letters in the dirt, and trapping the spiders with twigs. I was about to walk the five foot distance between me and the small stream to filter some water and wash the clothes I had been sweating in for the past eight days when I heard a loud boom.

I couldn’t see the sky, so I had no idea the thunderstorm was approaching until it was over my head. Luckily, the tree canopy in these mountains was so thick, the rain did not begin to fall through the leaves for about 15 minutes. I quickly strung my tarp up between two trees and placed all of my stuff  underneath. The rain began to fall, and it quickly became a downpour. It continued to rain until it was dark. I was laying in my tarp staring blankly at the green canvas above me, when I felt water on my feet. The water from uphill was running through my tarp to reach the stream five feet away. I had no flashlight, and it was getting so dark I could not see a single thing. No light got through the thick leaves of the trees above. Before it was completely dark, I was able to stuff my sleeping bag back into it’s protective plastic bag so it would not get wet. The absolute last thing I wanted on my backpacking trip was a damp sleeping bag. I spent the entire night sitting up, waiting for the storm to pass. I fell asleep when I saw light beginning to shine through the trees.

The next three days were uneventful and excruciatingly slow. I named spiders, talked to myself, and felt possibly every emotion a human can feel from loneliness to absolute joy, but the most constant emotion was boredom. I cried because I was all alone, and I cried because I missed my family and friends. I cried because I was spending the last month of my summer in the woods with people I didn’t like instead of saying goodbye to my boyfriend and brother before they left for college. At the time, it seemed like there would be no end to these three days.  I wish I could say I learned some great or inspiring lesson about myself when I was completely alone for 76 hours, but the truth is all I was really thinking about was the airplanes I could hear above me and how badly I wanted to be on one.

Collection of Poetry by O. K.

Thursday march 3rd 2016

‘I have nothing else to give so it is a pot full of yellow corn to warm your belly in the winter’

let the fire crackle and the metal fence warm your toes

I have nothing else to give you so I give you time.

time to sit and share

your worries and your wonders, I open myself to you so you can see my soul

I give you my soul because I have nothing else to give.

A soul that cares

the trees grow naked, the sun goes away

a soul that never ceases to think of running away

I have nothing else to give you so I give you my love.

love that makes you feel strong

on the days that you feel defeated and to love feels so hard

laugh so loud it echos for miles

a love that will last well after we walk down the aisle

‘It’s all I have to give

and all anyone needs to live

to go on living inside

when the world outside no longer seems to care

remember

I love you’

 

Baca workshop

I lost who I am

let go of approval

Be one with the world. not my world

let go of the control and need for change

be still and watch the waves

take a step back let me see

all of the things the world has to offer me

 

Baca Workshop

Something happened to me when I was found myself in a dark pit

cobwebs of lies

whipping winds of betrayal

I am in the wrong?

short skirt and tighter shirt

let me show you how to really flirt

you stare at me, longing for anything to let you know I am okay

cold anger stirs in my heart. eyes wander astray

my head dizzy and chest tight

please god help me tell me how to go back

how to make things right

I’m in a pit trapped in insecurities, don’t take one step or they will call you out for your insanity

i am alone

but i have it all!

the nice hair, long legs big boobs and all

f*** you don’t see my mirror, the image that flashes back wants to disappear

the pressure for perfect it’s all too much

take me to the time in the park with my mom, the sun’s shining soft touch

i’m sorry i made things complicated

your words of affirmation are silent

my frustration is getting violent

i long for something deeper

an adventure far away in another world, something simple

somewhere that i feel safe and have a smile dimple to dimple

 

Advocacy for the Preservation of Honeybees: Why Bee Health Should Be Viewed as a Personal Responsibility by E.M.

If you don’t believe it is important to advocate for the health of the honeybee populations around the world, take a good look at the dinner fork in your hand. Did you know it is estimated that bees are “responsible for about one in every three bites of food in the United States” (Bergeron 1)? Because of their integral role in pollinating our agricultural products, honeybees are indispensable in helping us to produce our food. As the Back Yard Beekeepers Association states, “Without such pollination, we would see a significant decrease in the yield of fruits and vegetables” (Back Yard Beekeepers 1). The Nature Conservancy also notes the bees’ importance as it states unequivocally, “the honey bee is the greatest pollinating machine when it comes to agriculture.” According to some estimates, the precious bees account for $15 to $18 billion annually as our commercial pollinators in the United States by “doing almost 80% of all crop pollination” ( Bergeron 1). Furthermore, the U.S. Agricultural Statistics Service reports the honey produced by bees in the United States adds upwards of $365 million dollars annually to the U.S. economy (USDA 1). On a worldwide basis, estimates of economic loss are even higher. One study concludes “if left unchecked, CCD has the potential to cause a $15 billion direct loss of crop production and $75 billion in indirect losses” (Rucker & Thurman 3). Because of their important role in both the production of our food and in the health in our overall economy, bees are essential players in the health and well being of all people, and therefore their worldwide preservation is a responsibility we all need to seriously address. Despite these critical issues, there is reluctance to support the necessary steps to help our honeybee populations to thrive. As this paper will argue, this reluctance is due in part to a general population that is uninformed and/or disinterested in how they can help to promote bee health, as well as due partly to commercial and governmental entities who fight the reduction of certain pesticides that are believed to contribute to the overall decline in bee populations worldwide. Finally, this paper will argue that individuals can advocate for bees in five important ways: by planting flowering plants, providing water sources, and keeping bees in their own backyards and communities; by registering their green space on the Pollinator Partnerships’ database to provide data to protect and promote pollinators like bees; by reducing the amount and type of pesticides in their own gardens; by buying local honey to support local beekeepers; and perhaps most importantly, they can advocate for safer use of pesticides used in commercial agriculture around the world.

The primary reason honeybee advocacy is so important is because of the drastic reduction in the numbers of honeybees worldwide. According to the Nature Conservancy, it is estimated that the number of honeybee colonies has “dropped to about 2.5 million from more than 4 million in the 1970’s.”  Bergeron’s CNN report also indicates that this number is down from 5 million honeybees that were in existence in the 1940’s. This reduction is primarily realized through a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, characterized by honeybees in managed colonies that have “abandoned their colonies in masse, leaving behind the queen, young bees, and large stores of honey and pollen” (Suryanarayanan & Kleinman 2). These researchers report that the collapsing colonies result in an “insufficient amount of bees [that] are available to handle the brood” even though the queen bee is still present, resulting in “losses [that] have occurred rapidly and in large numbers.” Other sources acknowledge that the reason that the losses are occurring is technically unknown, however, it is noted that current thinking points to a cocktail of issues that are at fault such as disease, parasites, lack of nectar source diversity, and mites in addition to the more widespread use of pesticides (Merchant  2). The importance of bee preservation was not lost on Albert Einstein who once speculated that, ”If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live” (Benefits of Honey 1). Although Einstein was neither a beekeeper nor an entomologist, he grasped the critical importance of the issue. This grand statement from one of the world’s brightest minds acts as a wake-up call to urgently address issues of protection for the world’s bee population. As a result, it is crucial that as many individuals as possible must immediately advocate for a number of solutions in order to fully address the crisis of rampant CCD.

Arguing for lay individuals to promote bee health first requires the dispelling of certain myths that stand in the way of people’s actions to be effective advocates. First of all, some individuals do not advocate for bees because issues of allergies and/or bee stings frighten them. However, it is important to note that most stings in people are due wasps instead of bees. Wasps can sting repeatedly out of anger without dying, but bees sting very rarely and only out of fear of death, as they will die after they sting only once. Consequently, most stings in people occur from wasps rather than from bees. Thus, people should not fear a honeybee colony that is near their home, as the bees are relatively docile unless stepped on directly. In addition, a hive in your community should not put more people at risk since any individual who actually is allergic to bees should carry an Epi Pin at all times for immediate medical assistance if they are stung, whether there is a hive in the area or not (Triplett). It should also be noted that a nearby beehive does not necessarily increase one’s exposure to stings, since bees are known to travel up to five miles on their daily expeditions to gather pollen (Triplett), therefore bees in your environment may not necessarily come from the beehive next door.

Once individuals understand the behaviors and relatively calm nature of bees they are more likely to support the planting of flowering plants as well as adding bee hives and water sources to their immediate surroundings, both actions that help to promote the healthy lifestyles of bees (Chadwick et al. 77-111). Planting for bee health, aims to provide simple flowering plants as much as possible throughout the year, planting varieties that have not had all of the nectar and pollen bred out of them. Look for “bee friendly” labeling on seed packets to insure that you are planting the correct varieties. Under planting fruit trees with flowering plants, and increasing diversity in agricultural landscapes can also add to the habitat for wild bees, that also are very efficient pollinators in our ecosystems (Chadwick, et al. 77). In backyards, look also to reduce the mulch around the flowerbeds that prevent bees that nest in the ground from reaching the soil, thus increasing the bee’s habitats in your garden. Habitats can also be increased in your yard by providing dedicated bee “hotels” that are inexpensive and easy to make, without the commitment demands of a full-blown beehive. Inspired individuals can go into intensive beekeeping, but this demands a thorough education in beekeeping in order to manage the hive responsibly (Chadwick, et al. 86-87).

If individuals do undertake the commitment to become full-blown beekeepers, they should keep detailed notes about the behaviors discovered during their hive inspections in order to insure the health of their bee colony. These details should then be shared with the nonprofit group known as the Pollinator Partnership, whose sole mission is “to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems through conservation, education, and research,” so that they can keep accurate details about the health of hives around the world (Gardeners 1).

If individuals are seeking a less time-intensive way to help support the health of bees, they can simply buy local honey which supports the efforts of those keeping bees in the local community. Although not as effective as a more comprehensive approach to bee advocacy, it is important to welcome every effort no matter how small, to help with the preservation of the worldwide bee population. Individuals can also reduce the amount of pesticides used in their gardens and fields, as certain types of pesticides have been indicated, although not proven, to have significant impacts on the bee populations around the world (McFarland and McFarland 15-19).

Pesticide use, in fact, is the most controversial aspect of arguing the need to address CCD all over the world, as many scientists, lay people, and beekeepers are at odds about how certain pesticides actually affect the overall health of honeybees. However, it is critical to understand this major issue in order to help explain this major decline that has affected our bee populations so drastically in the past few decades. Although, individual efforts are helpful to build awareness, it is impossible to help build back the significant numbers of bees that have been lost over time by disjointed, small scale efforts. It is also impossible to explain the major losses of bees without addressing large-scale shifts in our environment that can account for such a drastic change in the overall bee population. Evidence of these disturbing declines shows up in Steinheur’s comprehensive analysis entitled Colony Loss 2014-2015, a report that indicates 28.7% of the honeybee colonies managed in the United States were lost over a nine-year period. In another article from Yale University researcher Elizabeth Grossman, quotes an even higher loss as she states, “For much of the past 10 years, beekeepers, primarily in the United States and Europe, have been reporting annual hive losses of 30 percent or higher, substantially more than is considered normal.” One major change in our agricultural environments that could account for such drastic increases in CCD is the use of certain pesticides known as neonicotinoids (also referred to as “neonics” for short) that were originally used to replace DDT as a pesticide because DDT was proven to be harmful to humans. However, neonics have been shown in some studies to lead to sharp declines in queen bees and also “interfere with the ability of bees to navigate back to their hives” (Grossman 4). Since neonics have been shown in the U.S. to be used on about “95 percent of corn and canola crops; the majority of cotton, sorghum, and sugar beets; and about half of all soybeans” their impact on our environment is enormous and very widespread (Grossman 3). The Yale researcher later continues, “They are also used on the vast majority of fruit and vegetable crops, including apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, and potatoes [as well as] cereal grains, rice, nuts, and wine grapes.” All of these products are grown in many different regions of the world, including right here in Colorado (Triplett). With this wide of a reach, the pervasive use of this pesticide could easily have far reaching effects that could account for such massive declines in the bee populations. Although some studies, particularly those funded by the pesticide companies, refute the connection (Jolly 2), other studies as well as data from actual beekeepers insist that neonics are harmful if not deadly to the bee colonies around the world. Researchers such as Suryanarayanan and Kleinman in the article Disappearing Bees and Reluctant Regulators, also stated,

Several beekeepers observed CCD unfolding in the fields of commercial growers with occurrence of CCD and the proximity of their hives to fields treated with relatively new systemic insecticides such as neonicotinoid \

imidacloprid. Affected beekeepers reported that CCD occurred in colonies several months after initial exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides…

This, the beekeepers surmised, had long-term progressive effects on developing bees that were chronically exposed to accumulating insecticidal stores. (Suryanarayanan & Kleinman 5)

The authors then go on to recommend that there is significant justification for regulators to insist on limiting bee exposure to these pesticides as a precautionary approach. Controversy continues as the pesticide industry fights against the banning of neonics because they risk major financial losses, however, independent researchers and beekeepers contend that the negative effects on the bee population are significant and real. As Steve Ellis, a Minnesota-based beekeeper, states “These compounds are a nightmare scenario for pollinators. There is no way to prevent exposure to these chemicals,” he continues, “The only question is exposure level, whether that is a problem or not. The pesticide industry claims not. The beekeeping industry says yes” (Grossman 4). Although the pesticide industry claims the pesticide “reduces by orders of magnitude the amount present in the plant when it flowers,” (Benbrook 1) the U.S. Geological Survey has recorded the presence of neonics in rivers and streams. In addition, data from Washington State documents residues in numerous foods. Thus, there is significant data that suggests these chemicals do not disappear from our environment once they are applied on the fields (Benbrook 1). Penn State researchers also confirm the detrimental effects of the continued use of this pesticide, stating “There’s going to be a shortage of bees in this entire growing season…Whether we’ve reached a point of no return, we don’t know” (qtd. In Grossman 5).

Therefore, it is in our best interest to follow the example of the European Union, as their European Commission recently voted to impose a temporary ban the use of neonics until the actual effects of the pesticide can be fully understood. This cautionary legislation is the only way to avoid the potentially irreversible effects of neonics on the world’s food supply as well as on the bee population as a whole. As a nation, and as individuals it is all of our best interests to do whatever we can to influence our stale, local, and national officials to follow the  lead of the EU and ban neonics from use in our agriculture. The future of our bee populations and in turn, the future of the entire human race depends on our careful stewardship of the natural world, so it is firmly in all of our hands to do the most we can to insure we, and all of God’s creatures, can all live long, happy, and healthy lives.

In conclusion, it is up to us as individuals to do whatever we can to insure the health and safety of our honeybee populations. Whether it is planting flowers, building habitats, buying local honey, hanging bee hotels, raising our own bee colonies, or fighting commerce to regulate the pesticide industry, every effort is a step forward toward ensuring the health and safety of the world’s honeybees. It is all of our responsibilities to do whatever we can to help maintain the delicate balance of nature. If we fail do so, future generations will pay the price for our shortcomings, not just in the health of the bee population, but because of our interdependence on the bee’s role in our food supply, we consequently affect the health, wellbeing and longevity of the entire human race.

 

 

Works Cited

Back Yard Beekeepers Association. “Honeybee Facts.” Back Yard Beekeepers Association.com. Web. 13 March 2016. <http://backyardbeekeepers.com/wp/honeybee-facts/.

Benbrook, Charles. “Pesticide Residues in Organic Food – Delivering on a Promise.” Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.3 June 2014. Web. 15 March 2016. <http://Csanr.wsu.edu/pesticide-residues-in-organic-food.

Benefits of Honey. “Did Albert Einstein Ever Link Doom of Human Race to Bees?” Benefits of Honey.com. Web. 17 March 2016. <http://http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/albert-einstein.html.

Bergeron, Ryan. “5 Ways to Help Save the Bees.” CNN.com. 12 March 2015. Web. 14 March 2016.< http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/living/lyw-5-ways-to-help-bees.

Chadwick, Fergus, et al. The Bee Book. 1st American ed. New York: DK Publishing, 2016. Print.

Gardeners.com. “Attracting Beneficial Bees: Gardeners Can Help Counter the Decline in Pollinator Populations.” Gardeners.com. Web. 17 March 2016. <http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/attracting-beneficial-bees/bees/5024.html.

Goulson D.  “Neonicotinoids Impact Bumblebee Colony Fitness in the Field: A Reanalysis of the UK’s Food & Environment Research Agency 2012 Experiment.” PeerJ, 3 2012: 854. Web. 15 March 2016. <https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.854.

Grossman, Elizabeth. “Declining Bee Populations Pose a Threat to Global Agriculture.” Environment 360: Yale University, 30 April 2013. Web. 14 March 2016 <http://e360.yale.edu/feature/declining-bee-populations-pose-a-threat-to-global-agriculture/2645/.

Jolly, David. “Europe Bans Pesticides Thought Harmful to Bees.” New York Times. 29 April 2013. Web. 16 March 2016. <http://nyti.ms/188fVAc.

McFarland, Rob and McFarland, Chelsea. Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives: The Easy and Treatment Free Way to Attract and Keep Healthy Bees. Salem, MA: Page Street, 2015. Print.

Merchant, Mike. “Honey Bees at Center of Controversy.” Texas A & M Agrilife Extension., 22 May 2013. Web. 15 March 2016. <http://citybugs.tamu.edu/2013/05/22/honey-bees-at-center-of-controversy/.

Mussen, Eric C. “Don’t Underestimate the Value of Honey Bees!” UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, 8 March 2007. Web. 15 March 2016. <http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/ Faculty/Eric C. Mussen/.

Pollinator Partnership. “Get to Know Us.” Pollinator Partnership.org. Web. 16 March 2016.< http://www.pollinator.org/about.htm.

Rucker, Randal R. and Thurman, Walter N. “Colony Collapse Disorder: The Market Response to Bee Disease.” Perc Policy Series No. 50 2012: Print.

Steinheur, Natalie, et al. “Colony Loss 2014-2015: Preliminary Results.” Bee Informed Partnership, 13 May 2015. Web. 16 March 2016. <http://beeinformed.org./results/colony-loss-2014-2015-preliminary-results/.

Suryanarayanan, Sainath & Kleinman, Daniel L. “Disappearing Bees and Reluctant Regulators.” Issues in Science and Technology 27, no.4. Summer 2011. Web. 15 March 2016. <http://issues.org/27-4/p_suryanarayanan/.

The Nature Conservancy. “Journey with Nature Bees & Agriculture.Nature.org. Web. 16 March 2016.<http://www.nature.org/ourintititives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/indiana/journeywithnature/bees-agriculture.xml.

Triplett, Sarah. Personal interview with Lead Zookeeper at the Westminster Butterfly Pavilion. 24 March 2016.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Federal Market News Service. National Honey Report. No.36-2, Washington D.C.:GPO, 18 March 2016. Web. 20 March 2016. <https://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/ ams/FVMHONEY.pdf.

Violet Daze by E. G. B.

My skin hovers above my bones it is weightless. The sun rests, caressing the invisible hairs that cover my arms. The rushing air tickles them. My face buzzing with the vibrations of my city, of this pavement. It beams back at the green light cascading through the fat leaves of the oaks. This light slides across my eyelashes transforming my vision into a kaleidoscope of shifting shades. My heart is spinning my mind turning the wheels running forward tumbling over themselves with a wiz through the air.

 

I can see my neighborhood for the first time since last summer with the houses sitting heavy upon their foundations like big fat bumble bees sitting atop a fuzzy dandelion. The people begin to trickle down their front steps like water from a drain pipe after a gentle drizzle. Walkers with strollers and strollers with baskets woven brightly and ready for market. A gentle breeze pokes goose bumps in everyone’s skin until the sun comes to remedy them with a soft kiss. Be calm it says. Today is simple.

 

I climb up the grassy slope freckled with violets and lay my bike down to rest at my side. My head finds its place to sleep while my eyes wander across the swirls of blue and white passing swiftly just inches from my face. The smell of the violets falls through my hair and I sit up to find the biggest one. Plucking the purple and white smeared petal, I place it on the tip of my tongue and allow the subtle perfume of it to sink through my taste buds. A cloud slips across the sun like an accident and the blades of grass send a shiver through my spine and out my collar bones. A man yells into a cell phone and slams his car door. Springtime hasn’t been delivered to all of our doors just yet. The post office must be delayed from the snow last week.

The Side Effects by W.D.

As a butterfly flaps its wings

A snowflake falls

A raindrop shimmers the pacific northwest

A gust of wind grazes over the main of a male stallion sprinting through an open field

A wave rolls onto the shore

An acre of the forest disappears

The hole in the ozone layer doubles in size

The trash island grows to the trash country

Another animal dies from pollution

The sea level rises 1 inch

A flood sweeps out an entire city

A bird pollinates a flower, sparking the next generation of the daisy

A mother lion gives birth

A peaceful summer storm rolls over the country side

A lot can happen

When a butterfly flaps its wings