Sunday, November 08, 2009

Listening to the Messenger ...

The temperature is rising on what may be the last balmy day of Fall, 2009, so it seems like a good time to write about the garden, and remember how important bees are to life. On a good summer day they buzz amidst the flowers to the joy of our guests, especially the young ones, fascinated with flying insects. Our garden attracts the occasional hummingbird, as well as butterflies and bees. What I have noticed is the peace these messengers of nature bring. There's a contemplative mood in a garden with bees, busy at their task, one they have perpetuated for ever. One of the things to think about is why honeybees are disappearing and whether the world can survive without pollinators. An organic garden like mine poses no risk to honeybees. But once a bee strays outside organic gardens, it runs the risk of contact with toxic chemicals. I recommend an article in the GoGreen Directory, featuring Laura Kelley of Littlefield Landscapes and her bees. Laura reports that a bee sent to Tufts by the Barnstable County Beekeeping Association for testing last year was found to have more than 37 unnatural chemicals. Conventional cleaning products are in part responsible. The Environmental Working Group has just released its latest study about cleaning green, with special emphasis on schools. Read the fact sheet here. If NStar is allowed to spray up to six herbicides underneath the power lines, Cape Cod bees will suffer the consequences. Remember, the bee tested had 37 chemicals already. Why add more? Scientists are feverishly studying Colony Collapse Disorder. Imagine Cape Cod as a stage. To the left, we have Silent Spring researchers trying to figure out why Cape Cod has such a high incidence of cancer. On the right, we have people who want to pour known carcinogens into our groundwater. Why can't we put two and two together? Toxic chemicals are not good for health, be one human or honey bee.

Note: Reporter Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote today on a related issue, what the chemical BPA can do to humans, in his op ed column. Read it here and spread the word.