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It’s Not the Bee’s Knees

19 Apr

The bees are dying off.

“So what,” you indifferently say.  You even think to yourself, “it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine“.  You even hum along to this song (go on, play the video below)…

The Agricultural Research Service states that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a “serious problem threatening the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States.”  What’s worse is that the problem is not only in the US.  Scientists have been researching into many possible causes, and of course, all are man-made causes.  Don’t act surprised.  What does that mean for us, consumers?  Higher food prices because of smaller harvests.  How about for us, as humans?  Ah, good question.

As far back as 1890, when Yosemite National Park was formed, the environmental movement has been addressing issues about our environment.  But it wasn’t until the 1960s when the general public became even more aware of the state of the environment.  Rachel Carson’s last book, Silent Spring, published in 1962, informed the public of the dangers of DDT and pesticides to the environment and to our health.  The last chapter of Silent Spring titled “A Fable for Tomorrow” imagines a life that is “silenced”.

… There was a strange stillness. The birds, for example where had they gone? Many people spoke of them, puzzled and disturbed. The feeding stations in the backyards were deserted. The few birds seen anywhere were moribund; they trembled violently and could not fly. It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh.

On the farms the hens brooded, but no chicks hatched. The farmers complained that they were unable to raise any pigs the litters were small and the young survived only a few days. The apple trees were coming into bloom but no bees droned among the blossoms, so there was no pollination and there would be no fruit. …

No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves. …

Carson, R. (1962). Silent Spring. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

It sounds bleak, doesn’t it.  But if we, humans, continue on the path of over-consuming and disregarding the environment to satisfy our temporary pleasures, then that imagined town will become Earth’s future reality.  Back in the 1990’s, there was a TV series my sisters and I enjoyed watching called “Dinosaurs” which involved plots that revolved around environmental and social issues.  (SPOILER ALERT!) The season finale of the show was just as bleak as the last chapter of Silent Spring.  Follow along Earl and replace “bunch beetles” with honey bees, and for the part that goes “And technology is so bright and shiny and new” add “like my iPhone” or some other piece of technology or clothing or accessory that you replace faster than you can say “ooh” and “ahh” and you’ll get the point of the story.  (SPOILER ALERT! Do not click on the video unless you want to.)

There are a lot of nay sayers out there, but why listen to them?  Shouldn’t we all err or the side of caution and  think of the bigger picture.  Really big.  Like planetary big.  Planet Earth, for starters.  These are the folks we should listen to: NASA on Global Climate Change, The National Center for Science Education, The National Resources Defense Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Geographic, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.  If that’s not enough for you, your local newspapers will definitely have unbiased information on climate change.

What can we do and what should we do?  We can do many things and they’re all related to the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  With “Reduce” and “Reuse” being the two most important steps we can take.  When it comes to saving the earth, think like a pirate… aRRR!  Speaking of reducing, here’s a useful slideshow about grocery stores committed to reducing food waste by Steve Holt of Take Part.

Let’s end on a good musical note.  Here’s one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite musicians, and this is one of the best covers of the song.  As the lyrics go, “But leave me the birds and bees. Please!”

Earth Day is on April 22.  This year, we’re able to say “Happy Earth Day!”  Hopefully, as we work towards conservation and environmental stewardship during the present, the future generations would still be able to say, “Happy Earth Day!”

Workin’ Farmer Style

7 Dec

I have a deep abiding respect for people who work the land and sea.  My paternal grandparents were farmers throughout their working lives, with my paternal grandfather having been both a farmer and fisherman; as for my maternal grandfather, he was a forest ranger in his younger years.  People who make a career tilling the earth are hardworking folks who have to contend with elements outside of their control.  How’s that for work challenges.

While in msnNOW, I came across The Peterson Farm Bros’ parody on Gangnam Style called “Farmer Style” and I couldn’t help but smile.  Gangnam Style has less than 99 million views away from 1 billion views, while the more modest and very cute Farmer Style has over 2 million views.  Let’s help “Farmer Style” get more views, shall we.

“… Without the farmers workin’ we would all be starvin’.  You know what I’m sayin’!…”

To California with Love

7 Nov

If Washington, the Evergreen State, were to get in touch with its Pacific Coastal state sibling, California…

Hey Cali,

News travels lightning fast these days so you should have already heard…  Yup, same-sex marriage is approved, marijuana legalization is approved, and charter schools funding is approved.  Am I happy, sistah?  Am I happy?!  You bet I am!  I’m so happy I could smoke a joint.  And it would be legal.  Wow.  I should thank you, you know… I’ve got so many liberal transplants from the Golden State livin’ in my hoods.  Woohoo, remember the Summer of Love?  Watch this video to joggle your memory. 

Uh oh, now where was I… Oh right… I’m having the Autumn of Happiness.  It’s almost as if the flower kids and grandkids decided to get together in my land of salmon, geoduck, and Evergreens. 

Now tell me what’s going on with your people.  I cannot believe Prop. 37 did not pass.  Four years ago Prop. Hate (ahem, I meant 8) won, and now Prop 37 lost.  If only the results were reversed with 8 losing and 37 winning, yea?  At least Props. 30 and 35 passed.

Buck up, Goldie, the “food fight” isn’t over yet.  I’ve got your back and I’ve got I-522 waiting in the wings.  We’ve got to keep the issue in balance though by heeding the advice of our scientists; they don’t all work for giant food companies and just because they say GMO foods are safe doesn’t mean they support controversial business practices of big food companies.  We also must keep in mind that the global population is continuously growing and we need to find sustainable ways to feed everyone.  By “we”, I mean scientists, activists, constituents, and politicians.  So I guess that means all of us.  Sustainability is the key word here.  Lucky for us, our peeps have access to fresh produce and local foods thanks to the farmers markets and food companies that use environmentally responsible business practices.

Whoa.  I think I’m getting the munchies.  Speaking of sustainability, have you heard of Kettle Brand Chips?  Looks like it’s a good model for a food company. 

Can’t. Resist. The. Cravings.  I’m going to go celebrate with a bag of Tias


Missing California

12 Jun

It’s late spring and we’re eight days shy of when summer “officially” begins.  Thoughts of summer usually conjure up images of sunshine, the beach, berries, and melons, at least for me.  If you’re lacking in the imagination department and you can’t think up of what summer is about, here, let Google images help you.

These past few days, decked out in cool weather clothes, I’ve come close to making a live offering to various ancient sun gods and goddesses, just for a bit of sunshine.  I’ve even made appeals here and there to Ra.  This is how my appeal went…

Ra, Ra, he’s our man.  If he can’t do it, no one can.  Yeah! Ra!

It’s important that you flail your arms around and leap around with joy.  There is no other way to speak to Ra.

For those of you in cities suffering a lack of sunshine, please feel free to use the cheer.  I mean, appeal.  Yesterday, my sun god, Ra, came through.  Even a few hours of sun and warmth felt like heaven.

Under normal conditions (meaning any other season but summer), I enjoy the grayness and cool weather here, but when we’re closing in on summer and there’s nothing but “showers”, “mostly cloudy”, and “partly cloudy” (why can’t they even call it “partly sunny”) in the forecast (I mean, just look at the chart below!), it makes me feel like the gods are laughing at us.  And surely Ra laughed at my attempts to get his attention.  On the sunny side, we get three days of sunshine six days after summer begins.

I had good reasons for leaving the Golden State and choosing to live (temporarily) in the Evergreen State, but with the weather being the way it is, all I can think of is California.  California with its sunshine.  California with its over 840 miles of coastline.  California with its beaches.  California…

BevMo! in Washington State

12 May

Hey fellow Californians, have you heard?  (Because I just did.)  BevMo! is coming to the Evergreen State! and will be opening two retail stores in Tacoma and Silverdale!  Woot!  Why not Seattle or any of the Eastside cities, I don’t know.  Why BevMo!?  Why?

For those not in the know about BevMo!, head over here or click the image above to learn how you can get your drinks for less.  Just to be clear, always drink responsibly.  Never drink and drive.  Again, always drink responsibly.

We know California knows how to party and it looks like Washington State is going to learn a thing or two.  Not that the California transplants haven’t livened up things a bit already.