Thursday, June 18, 2015

How a Kickstarter Campaign can save Humanity

I’m sure almost everyone is aware that bees are dying off. When I first heard this news, I remember thinking, “It’s about time, I hate bees.”

Bees have terrified me since I accidentally touched one sitting behind my ear when I was six years old. I thought it was a piece of hair that came loose from my pony tail. It stung me on the bony part behind my ear the second I placed my index finger on it, and I remember it brought on tears instantly. It was then that I decided I hated bees.

So yes, the news of vanishing bees made me happy at first hearing.

My happiness quickly faded after a recent encounter with an activist.

“You do know the bees are responsible for a little over one-third of what you eat, right?” He said.
I laughed it off.

“I mean I know that bees are responsible for honey and pollinating flowers,” I responded, clearly blinded by my ignorance. “Trust me - I can live without my plant allergies acting up every spring.”
He then explained the importance of bees to many OTHER plants.

When a bee lands on a flower, it’s very tiny, but hair body collects pollen off of the plant. When bees travel to various crops, it then transfers the pollen to new flowers, allowing the plants to pollinate (reproduce) with each other. I guess I never put two-and-two together.

 There are plants that MUST be pollinated by fruit and crops that’s quality improves by bees – like the important ones that make the maple almond butter I’m addicted to, the strawberries I look forward to eating every summer, the spinach I put in my salads (or on my hamburger – come on, let’s be real for a second here, I’m not always plant protein and nut butters) – yeah, bees pollinate all that.
Actually, bees pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Bees are responsible for pollination of more than 800,000 acres of California almonds. Imagine the inflation of prices for almonds if pollination declines. According to the Property and Environment Research Center, the retail price of a $7 one pound can of Blue Diamond almonds could increase by about three cents.

The monetary loss of bees is “staggering” according to an article on Mercola, but what’s even worse is the loss to the food supply. This is a LARGE and DANGEROUS threat to humanity.

So what is happening to the bees? Are they just leaving and not coming back? Where are they going? Are the bees dying? Who is killing them? WHY ARE YOU HURTING THE BEES, YOU MAD BEE KILLER!?

I decided to conduct some research to find out exactly what was happening to the bees.

This disappearance of bees is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is defined as the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. 

Why would bees just leave their nest and not return?

The first few answers were common:
-          Parasitic mites
-          Several viruses
-          Bacterial diseases
- you know, the unavoidable stuff that also kills many other living creatures, including humans.
Another great factor of CCD is the usage of systemic pesticides.

Apparently, genetically modified organisms – better known is GMOs – used in pesticides kill off our number one transport of pollen. Who would’ve thunk it?

World leader of GMOs, Monsanto has been under anti-GMOactivists’ watch for the last few years. Yes, they are the people activists like Erin Brokovitch and even Chipotle have been talking about.

If we, as humans, are worried about what GMOs are doing to some of our food, can you imagine what it’s doing to our pollinators?

If bees keep dying off and crops yield only small amounts, and grocers and restaurants sell us food covered in pesticides – how long will it take until we suffer from a human CCD?

That’s actually pretty scary.

No, I got chills thinking about that.

I wondered if there was any way to help protect the bees. Many people have come up with quick solutions, but nothing that has really stuck.

That’s when I got to talking with Erie-native Chester (Chet) Lee. Chet has a patent on his product the Bee Pole. I sort of shrugged his invention off when I first discussed it with him – it’s literally deadwood with holes in it. But it works.

Various species and sizes bees are attracted to different shapes and scents.

According to Chet’s patent, “Some native bees seek habitat in standing deadwood and are actually drawn to deadwood timber by the scent of the CO2 which its decomposing fibers exude. Some of the prior patents have attempted to formulate bee habitats from treated wood and/or paper or non-wood materials. Native bees will not, typically be attracted to such habitats and, hence, efforts to foster propagation of native bees using these manmade materials have proven to be largely ineffective. A queen bee will typically lay between 60 and 60,000 eggs during her three year life span. The queen will typically find a hole of suitable depth formed in a standing dead tree which has been pecked by woodpecker or other bird. She lays a single egg in the cavity and covers it over. The bee will hatch, typically in about 20 days.”

Like human beings, bees need three things to survive – food, shelter and water. If Chet’s Bee Pole is placed near plants and water, he is able to offer all three of those things to bees, allowing them to reproduce and continue to do their job.

With the help of Menajerie Studio in Erie PA, I worked alongside Chet to create a Kickstarter campaign for his project.

It is a really awesome project to be a part of and I hope to someday be able to say that I helped save humanity all by paying attention to the bees.

We can’t singlehandedly stop Monsanto and their use of GMOs, and we can’t exactly prevent disease, but we can help bees propagate and multiply. We can help the healthy ones stay healthy, and we can keep ourselves healthy by eating the crops they grow organically.

Please join me in supporting the Bee Pole Kickstarter. You never know what your dollar can do for humanity.


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