25 Mar 2013

Honey, Please Bee Lovely!

Hi, my name is Nathalie and I am a carer. Now for those of you who are not quite familiar with this blog, I will tell you that many passions of mine are echoed through it, from creative writing, design and fine art, to architecture, travel, fashion, and more! And as if this weren't enough, I also happen to be an animal lover by heart, a wildlife supporter, a plant advocate and a bit of an "armchair ecologist" as I tend to describe myself. I sign petitions from my favourite charities and organisations, spread the good word via my Twitter account and personal Facebook page. Moreover I support the IFAW through donations. I try to lead by example, but I am maybe not as committed as I should be, for a number of reasons, hence the fact I call myself "armchair ecologist".

As actions speak louder than words, I am proud to say that I adopted my little dog, Tickle, over six years ago from Manchester Dogs Home, rather than get him "brand new" from a breeder, and I even adopted a cute little Russian hamster by the name of Billy off an East Manchester-based small animal shelter. I was proud for my garden to be essentially (although not 100%) chemicals-free, as I would rather use manual labour to get rid of so-called weeds, than succumb to chemical aids. I even liberally sprinkled my lawn with wild prairie seeds, to add interest and attract pollinators and other wildlife.

In the home, I was an Ecover fan, and played it easy with detergents. I recycled glass, plastic and paper years before I got provided with recycling bins by the council. I would get on the bus or drive down to the huge recycling banks on supermarket carparks with bulky bags of recycling. What I mean is I didn't wait for recycling bins to conveniently land on my doorstep to start thinking about recycling. I had taken the matter in my own hands years prior, and put my beliefs into practice, no matter how impractical they were gonna be!

The latest petition I signed today was via the Care2 petition site, the self-labelled "No.1 petition site in the world", which you might want to browse if interested, because I am pretty sure you will find at least one petition whose ideal it defends will be your call for action. As for me today, I decided to give our undervalued underrated humble bees the buzz they deserve. The "Bee Lovely and Help Save the Bees" petition is sponsored by NYR Organic (Neal's Yard Organic), a renowned British organic health and beauty company established 1981.

I quote: "Over seventy percent of the global food crops are pollinated by bees. Last year, the United States lost a full third of its total honeybee colonies for the fifth year in a row. This means that since 2006, the American bee population has plummeted from 4.5 million honey-producing hives to a scant 860,000. Worse, that number is still dropping. Rampant pesticide use is a major cause of bee deaths. In 2011, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) found that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is both widespread and catastrophic.

Neonicotinoids are on average 7,000 times more toxic than DDT, which was banned in 1972.

DDT was banned because it contributed to the near extinction of birds, including the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon, and is particularly toxic to fish and insect life. Despite this, the EPA has not halted the manufacture or use of neonicotinoids, choosing instead to put the products "under review" for the next five years." (end of quote).

If this isn't food for thought to a call for action, I wonder what will be.

Europe has also seen its number of bees plummet, and in a bizarre twist of fate, urban bee populations like the ones in Paris seem to have weathered the decline better than their countryside counterparts which although being exposed to lower levels of exhaust fume pollution, are subjected to higher levels of pesticides found in fields and cross-contaminating nearby land, gardens and forests.

Besides a number of TV documentaries have shed the light on China's loss of bee populations, as a catastrophe by-product of Mao's bird slaughter politics. Today apple trees in China need to be hand-pollinated. This is no George Orwell fiction though, and reality couldn't have prepared us for such a violent wake-up call! 
And yes you can indeed do your bit: Please bee lovely and sign the petition.

Once you have signed the petition, you will get a thank-you note from NYR, as well as their beautifully-written and illustrated Little Book of Bees, plus a couple of useful websites, whose awareness I feel I should help contribute to, so here we go:
Yes guys, we can indeed make a difference, one step at a time, one click at a time, one petition at a time! Thanks for acting on this one.

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