Following on from the information I gave you the day before yesterday, (you can go find it in the Calendar and read it.) I would like to talk today to start off with about Honey Bee’s. My step-daughter studied about them at School. Have you noticed how expensive Honey has gotten?
Well, they make honey, and honey’s nice, but that’s not all. There is a reason that honey suddenly got so expensive. According to the BBC, approximately one third of the world’s food supply comes from crops which rely primarily on insects for pollination and globally the most prolific and dependable pollinator for around 70 major crops is the humble honeybee. Without the bee, the world’s population, including us, would be in real danger of starvation.
Globally, the bee population is declining. In fact, the word some people are using is ‘crashing’. The most likely culprit is insecticides, applied liberally to our crops to protect them from parasitic insects, but just as toxic to our honey-making pollinator friends. The trend towards monoculture – planting massive tracts of a single crop – probably doesn’t help either. Bees, like us, require a varied diet or they become malnourished and die. Stick them in the middle of a vast monocrop, with only a single variety of flower to feed from, and they don’t last long.
The problem as I stated last time is that mankind have been in general bad stewards. So what can we do about it?
- Honey Bees - Plant a flower garden for the honeybees and the butterflies and an organic vegetable garden helps the wallet without hurting the environment. Teach your children where their food comes from and learn about companion planting. If you own your own home plant your garden around your house using as a fire break, keep lawns small if you must have one turn most of your space into native bush. If the kids need lawn to play on - take them to the park.
- Recycle – Make a commitment to recycling, most towns and cities now have recycling at the curb or at least a recycling centre in the city.
- Plastic - Single use plastic bags are now a thing of the past - a good step in the right direction. McDonalds now even uses cardboard straws rather than plastic support the trend - where you can vote will your wallet and given the option with your grocery money go for carboard/paper packaging rather than plastic packaged items.
- Cars – GO ELECTRIC or at least HYBRID. In the meantime – support public transport, or car-pool with co-workers. Apart from saving the environment and money, many a conversation struck up on a bus or train could bring an opportunity to share the gospel with someone.
- Livestock emit a pile of methane – which is even worse than carbon dioxide – into the atmosphere over the course of their brief lives. Eating one or two meatless meals a week can have a significant impact over the course of a lifetime, our family favourites are macaroni cheese, and toasties or spagetti on toast as a quick meal.
- Change to LED Light Bulbs. Turn off your lights. And your computers. And your appliances. Even leaving them on stand-by uses electricity, and even though around 80% of New Zealand’s electricity is produced renewably there’s still around 20% that comes from coal, oil, and gas. - This one also saves you money.
- If your city or town doesn't have tree-lined streets petition your city council to plant trees along your streets, get permission to plant 2 or 3 along the street outside your home and plant natives Kahikatea, Kawakawa or Kōwhai. Join in any tree planting projects in your community.
- Think about solar panels for your home or better still your own small quiet windmill out the back - huge savings in money on your power bill and if you generate enough that you are feeding power into the grid - they pay you!
- Make sure your home is insulated it will keep it warmer in winter and cooler in the hot summer that's coming so hopefully you won't need to use a fan so often, and I believe that you can actually get financial help from the government to pay for it.
These are all tips, big and small things we can all do to shrink our “ecological footprint”, be more aware of taking care of our world and all those in it, humans, and other creatures. Don’t be a litter bug and a bad steward. But just as importantly start with being kind to others.