Friday, February 15, 2019

WHY TO BE KIND TO INSECTS--DWINDLING HONEY BEES AND OTHERS




Months ago I wrote about the intriguing man whom I'd found picking clover blossoms in open grassland in my community. I asked him for his reasons doing that. He answered, I'm teasing the clover plants into producing more blossoms.

Really? But why would you spend time doing that, I asked?

"To help save the bees. They're dwindling, you know."

This stranger introduced me to a something about bees I'd never realized: the honey bee population is dwindling.

Since then I've encountered more information on dwindling insects and the causes. The primary cause is contamination by the insecticides used increasingly in agriculture and gardening. Insecticide use helps the individual farmer and the large agricultural company cut costs by getting rid of harmful insects. That's a gain. But the hidden cost is the loss of valuable insects like bees.

Just this past week I read a statement in the "Manchester Guardian" U.S. edition: "plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature."  Please click the link and read the fine article yourself.

That elevates the threat. It's not just loss of bees but, rather, threat to an entire spectrum of life.

I tend toward caution when I read frightening or threatening headlines. So, do I just dismiss the claim about bee loss and insect loss? Not so.

Not so, because the chain of life has many links. A loss of one link risks preventing the chain from doing its job. (Think of a chain holding a gate closed. If the chain breaks, the gate swings open. And all hell breaks loose in some cases. A trite example: the farmer's cattle flee down the road.)

I've paid attention for years to loss of certain species in Africa: the chimpanzees in the Congo, the elephants and hippopotamus populations in coastal West Africa.

But insects worldwide? I've overlooked that. Thanks to the guy picking clover blossoms and to "The Guardian," one of the world's great news sources, from here on I widen my focus. It's part of "Growing Green," . . .part of learning what to save in the global environment and how we can do it. I affirm: we can, actually must, grow green. Shoppers can help by buying "green."

No comments: