February 15, 2009

"If you need it get it. If you don't need it - forget it." -- Thelma May Beets b.1918

Over breakfast this morning I read my girls a really inspiring article in today's LA Times - memories of survivors of the Great Depression.

The children of those times learned things that they would remember for the rest of their lives. They discovered how to make endless pots of soup, how to use corncobs for fuel, how to make undergarments from bleached feed sacks. They learned the value of a wild imagination and honest neighbors.
They were good lessons.

You can read the article in its entirety here as well as images, and very moving audio from the interviews conducted.

cross-posted at twogreenchickens and jumilla bugs

February 11, 2009

book review: fruitless fall

wanted to recommend fruitless fall by rowan jacobsen to you all. the book is about the honey bee and colony collapse disorder (CCD), which is a serious threat to the honey bee (and therefor to life as we know it). while the topic is frightening and depressing, jacobsen managed to completely engage me in his book. almost every page is filled with fascinating information about bees and pollination and how bees are essential to us for so many reasons. even the more scientific info is really accessible.

i recommend reading this book in conjunction with the omnivore's dilemma, because CCD is almost certainly caused by the effects of industrial agriculture. for me it reiterates the urgent need to transform our broken agricultural system. in fruitless fall, jacobsen examines the myriad of factors that have been considered in trying to figure out why CCD is happening. in the end, CCD is mostly likely due to a combination of factors including:

*pesticide, herbicide and fungicide use (and the complete lack of studies on how various pesiticides, etc. react/combine with each other to become potentially exponentially more harmful) (pesticide use is probably the most influential factor. did you know pesticide safety is determined by test results reported BY THE PESTICIDE MAKERS!)
*the transport of hives (trucked cross country and flown between countries)
*bees forced to feed on monocrops (like almonds)
*habitat loss (lack of competition with wild bees, lack of varied nutrient sources)
*use of corn syrup to feed bees
*climate change
*development of wild and farm land (blocks flower scents)

*possibly even the structure of traditional bee boxes.

jacobsen goes into detail about how all of the above affects the honey bee, and i think you will be surprised by a lot of what you learn about these factors and how they interrelate.

so good! now i want to read some books he recommends, including the forgotten pollinators.

let me know what you think/thought of the book!

bee links
pollinator partnership
bee spotter

cross-posted at mecozy