Monday, August 21, 2006

Fwd: ''That little bumblebee is more important than the president of the United States.''

I am continually seeking more sources of life-celebrating, earth-sustaining, creation-centered news and mail to forward and email post. The Planetary Awakening Network, a global mailing list of mailing lists of 'light-minded' organizations sends worthy items as does the ECOREBBE however PAN's emails contain javascript elements and other ways of code that cause these this page to fail to load properly, bring up cautionary messages from the browser, and max out the CPU when the page does display. This is a key lesson for me while I consider publishing an eNewsletter. Plain and simple content can always be passed on! Here is an article the ECOREBBE is passing on...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gershon Caudill
Date: Aug 21, 2006 10:18 AM
Subject: ''That little bumblebee is more important than the president of the United States.''
To: ECOREBBE


Fate of the bumblebee: 'More important than the president'
© Indian Country Today August 18, 2006. All Rights Reserved
Posted: August 18, 2006
by: Editors Report / Indian Country Today

While humans pontificate grandly about ecological realities and drop bombs
on each other without mercy, some of the little beings of nature are going
away, perhaps increasingly taking with them our human ability to subsist on
this wonderful planet that many of us identify as mother earth.

Some 20 years ago, walking in the Adirondack Mountains, Ray Fadden
(Tehanetorens), grand old man of the Mohawks, pointed to a bumblebee flying
by. ''That one,'' Fadden said, ''is more important than the president of the
United States.''

Keen indigenous observer of the patterns and flows of nature, Fadden was
also a science teacher of many decades and a succinct and intelligent
lecturer. Combative to a pure fault, he flailed most of all at the white
man's continual ability to ignore the evidence of nature's severely
interrupted and devitalized systems. Over his own lifetime, the respected
teacher of generations of Mohawk children would report how he had seen the
insect life diminished. In the forests he had roamed from his youth in the
1920s and 1930s, this reduction in life force had affected everything else,
from amphibians to beaver to berries and fish, and how this at that time was
leading to the starvation of the bears.

As catastrophic climate changes become the common reality and plant variety
is poisoned and groomed out of nature, recent reports from Europe are
starting to detail a severe loss of supremely important insect life. Le
Monde (July 22) reports that ''pollinating insects ... indispensable to the
reproduction of the 80 percent of terrestrial vegetation represented by
flowering plants that produce seeds ... This indispensable service nature
has provided for 140 million years is seriously threatened by the recent
loss particularly of wild bees, which have declined in England by 52 percent
since 1980 and in the Netherlands by 67 percent.''

The decrease in biodiversity is severe enough that worried scientists are
seeking to implement immediate solutions. Jacobus Biesmeijer and William
Kunin (Leeds University, England) and a team of British, German and Dutch
researchers published their study's results in the July 21 issue of Science.
The study ''confirms that the threat is serious.''

The ''pollination crisis'' might be missed in the midst of severe
environmental disasters like drought and flooding, huge oil spills, global
warming and nuclear dust issues that impact the world, but we would do well
to keep our eye on that ''little bumblebee'' of Fadden's as a symbol of all
bee life, which in a central way is the key to life for much of the
agriculture upon which humanity depends.

Wild bees fly between flowers to gather pollen. The male fertilizes material
as he gathers, transporting it to the stigma of a female flower, thereby
inducing fertilization. This is the hugely important, unbroken chain of
spring fertilization that creates plant life every new season. The European
study mirrors the situation in North America, where scientists are equally
concerned because ''whatever the cause, the study strongly suggests that the
decline of several species can set off a cascade of local extinction among
other associated species.''

In Great Britain, researchers confirmed, the distribution of 75 wild plants
which must be pollinated by insects decreased, while the distribution of 30
others that are pollinated by wind or water was, on the contrary, more
widespread. In the Netherlands, plants pollinated by wild bees are also
declining. Jacobus Biesmeijer and William Kunin consequently suggest a
cause-and-effect link between the pollinating insects' decline and that of
the pollinated plants.

The material cited is one more example of important natural signals being
identified globally resulting from industrial-scale agricultural practices
and the changing climate and weather patterns in the world. The impact of
declining pollinators can be particularly severe in countries such as the
United States and Canada, where large open fields are naturally pollinated
now. Tragically, the vast open fields of American agriculture are becoming
saturated with toxic plant and insect-killing chemicals that wreak havoc on
bees and other pollinating insects. The native wild species as well as the
useful European honeybee, here since around 1600, are severely diminished as
a result, according to the journal OnEarth, published by the Natural
Resources Defense Council.

Flowers, wild woods and shrubs that have supported adequate bee populations
are eradicated, mostly with highly toxic chemical products. Wild shrubs like
redbud, buckthorn and ceanothus, rich in pollen, get eliminated for
monocrops that don't support bees. All of North America's 4,500 species of
native bees are at risk of extinction, including the lemon-yellow bumblebees
pointed out by Fadden. Recent research by the university of California at
Berkeley shows that among bees, among the best pollinators are bumblebees
and squash bees ahead of the commercial honeybee. A diversity of bee species
is the best insurance, the study found, as they tend to fluctuate in
populations and migrations in any given season.

There are laws on the books in the United States ( i.e., the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), but they are largely not
enforced. Overall, there is little rationale to aggressively govern the
chemical insult of modern industrial farming on inter-related ecosystems.
While one farmer moves to kill corn rootworm and chooses to apply the
efficient Penn-cap M, this highly toxic, long-life nerve poison will also
wipe out whole colonies of native bees. The industrious bees eat, pack and
carry back the toxic nodules for immediate and storage feeding. The whole
colony is killed, sometimes in a large repeating pattern.

Commercial honeybees are also in decline. In commercial practice, hives are
often moved in search of strongly blooming pastures and gardens. Beekeepers
used to pay farmers for the privilege of bringing their hives onto their
blooming fields, but now farmers pay beekeepers for the much-needed
pollination their bees provide. Those fees are quickly rising.

Since the 1940s, commercial hives have dropped by more than half, from about
5 million to 2.3 million. Major bee kills from newly applied pesticides are
the main reason. Of commercial honeybee hives, one-third died off in the
United States in 2005, a huge drop that panicked California's Central
Valley. Varroa mite infestation is one major cause, but ongoing research
shows compounded causes that point to toxic chemical elements. For example,
the pesticide Sevin has proved to be severely toxic, wiping out some 50
percent of local bee hives when sprayed by International Paper Co. on poplar
plantations to kill leaf beetles.

In the book ''Forgotten Pollinators,'' authors Gary Nabhan and Stephen
Buchmann make the case for the necessary survival of the pollinators,
particularly the native species, many of which, like the alkali bee with
alfalfa, are crucial for specific crops. Thus they share elder Ray Fadden's
admonition about of the greatest pollinator of all. ''That little
bumblebee,'' the elder said, ''is more important than the president of the
United States.''

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