Thursday, June 23, 2016

Celebrating National Pollinator Week: Food For Thought

It's no secret the pollinators are in trouble. Oh sure, you see plenty of butterflies, bees, flies, and other insects out there and even bats (yes, they're pollinators), so really, what's the big deal, right?

Consider this:

One out of every three bites of food we eat relies on pollinators.

Still not convinced?

To carry that point further, some plants require specific pollinators in order to get good production of their fruit. (And I use "fruit" in the general definition of whatever edible the plant produces.) Bees are the most well-known of the pollinators, but other insects and birds are more efficient at pollinating certain plants.

Zucchini, anyone?

If you're one of the people who has asked me, "Does it really matter if the monarchs disappear?" I can wholeheartedly answer, "YES."

My philosophy in general is this:  I believe that every living thing on the earth is here because it has a purpose.

In regard to the monarchs, perhaps we can live without them, but it's more complicated than that. The monarchs are in decline because of several factors, not the least of which is that their habitat is disappearing due to urbanization, and to a greater extent, due to the agricultural use of pesticides* that kill milkweed, the only food their babies eat.

If you think that monarchs are the only pollinator that is being affected by the pesticides, think again. They're just more visible and recognizable than most. They're the poster child for the greater problem we humans are causing in the environment.

It's a complicated issue, for sure, but if nothing else, during this, National Pollinator Week, please give these things some consideration. Think before you use pesticides yourself. You may not only be saving the pollinator's meal, you could be helping to save your own.

* Pesticide is the general term used by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the USDA and the EPA, which includes, but is not limited to herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. Read more here.


Jenny said...

Kylee I just read the following about much higher counts in overwintering monarchs last year. I thought that was pretty exciting & want to share it with you.

Kylee Baumle said...

Jenny ~ Yes, we were all pretty excited about that, only to have the excitement exchanged with horror less than a week later, as a devastating winter storm wiped out a very large number of the monarchs, which hadn't begun to migrate quite yet. :-( This only served to reinforce the need for our efforts to help them. Not only is the habitat situation in sore need of restoration, but the populations, even with the increase, can't withstand natural disasters such as this, which are sure to occur periodically.

I'm surprised that Tara Rocha failed to give the whole story about this past year's count. But she's on the West Coast, where monarchs don't migrate to Mexico, so her focus is likely more on that western population. Those monarchs are also facing some of the same obstacles that the eastern population is, but the eastern population numbers are down this spring, as expected after such a disaster, and like I said, it's more important than ever to keep doing what we're doing, and in greater numbers.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the recipe for Cherry Crisp. I love cherries and they are so good for you.
Love reading your newsletter, and visiting your website.

Barbara Law

blogger templates | Make Money Online