On a sad note: Thousands Of Dead Bees

I love catching a glimpse of the bumblebees here in Oregon, I grew up around honey bees, and while I still find them magnificent, I love gazing at bumblebees, their fuzzy little bodies are just too adorable to resist. I finally finally FINALLY got one to sit still long enough for me to take this photo of her. Watching her pollinate my lovely blackberry vines I’m both delighted and saddened. Delighted that she is alive – and saddened by the deaths of her sisters.

“As the estimate of dead bees rose to 50,000, the Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed the insecticide Safari caused the deaths in a Wilsonville earlier this week. A landscaping company sprayed 55 linden trees in a Target parking lot to control for aphids, said Dan Hilburn, the plants division director at the department of agriculture. The bees have been dropping from trees since the spraying on Saturday.
Aphids produce honeydew, a sticky liquid that can drip off onto cars or pedestrians. A Target representative said by email that the Wilsonville store had received no customer complaints about it. The Portland-based Xerces Society said aphids can be controlled without insecticides, including by spraying infested plants with soapy water. On Friday the Agriculture Department, the City of Wilsonville, neighboring towns and some local landscape contractors covered the sprayed trees with netting in an attempt to prevent further insect deaths.”
The Oregonian June 21, 2013

“The City of Hillsboro and the Oregon Department of Agriculture are investigating the deaths of what could be hundreds of bees in downown Hillsboro over the past few days… Preston confirmed that the trees in downtown Hillsboro were treated with the same pesticide, Safari spray, as 55 trees that were sprayed in Wilsonville. Although bees have been found dead elsewhere along the street, he said most of them have been found dead below one tree. It’s between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Workers were planning to cast a large net over that tree Saturday afternoon, to prevent more bees from landing on it and falling victim.”
The Oregonian June 28, 2013

On top of that:
“IT’S NOT JUST BEES ANY MORE. Researchers conducted an in-depth review of existing literature and found that neonicotinoid pesticides are causing plummeting wildlife populations in areas where the chemicals are heavily used… including death to millions of bats and non-target insects (which deprive wildlife of a food source), and outbreaks of infectious diseases in fish, amphibians, and birds–all of which directly coincide with the emerging use of the pesticides.”
www.realfarmacy.com July 26, 2013

Wilsonville is in my county, Hillsboro is my home. I’ve walked by that tree, I even wondered why it had a net over it. This is scary, more so since it’s so close to home. I can’t pollinate my blackberries. And if we kill the bees, the obvious next question is what will happen to the food supply? Even the processed junk food came from food that was pollinated. Somehow we must stop the Big Agra companies from amassing money by selling pesticides, it feels hopeless sometimes, but we just have to keep spreading the word.

Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned,
and the last fish has been caught, will we realize we can’t eat money.
-Cree Proverb

Greener Essays – Part 3 – Food and GMO’s

When we first started learning more about the world, for example what is wrong with the food or how dangerous plastic is, my mind was whirling. I decided to type out everything in my own words, which became these ‘essays’, which I scrapbooked and included in our family photo album to chart the changes we were making in our life.
Since I’m on vacation this week with my in-laws, I thought it would be a good time to post all my essays from last year, showing what we learned, and how we’ve shaped our lives around this information to be the people we are this year.
So here is Part Three of the Six Part series…

Chemical Food, July 2012
Cans are made from metal right? Not anymore, most cans now have a plastic lining, all that plastic is slowly seeping into our food! But wait! Plastic companies’ say that doesn’t happen, and the FDA keeps us safe. Wrong. The only studies that the FDA looks at are from the manufacturer. There are a 1,000 or more independent studies from respected scientists who show that that plastic does make its chemical way into our food through its packaging. Drat! Not only that, but chemicals are being injected in the seeds of the plants, being sprayed on the plants, and then packaged in the chemicals. It doesn’t stop there, chemically grown corn is now fed to the livestock, even fish, and is absorbed into their tissue. Simply unbearably frustrating. The ONLY thing to do is buy organic. Sadly, I estimate that it would be over a $1,000 a month for our family of four to eat organic – and our food budget is only $400 at the most. Sigh, while I’d like to ONLY shop at the farmer’s market, it’s off to the chain store we go. However, our focus is now changed. All the food that is healthy for you is typically along the walls of the store, and all the processed food is in the middle. We attempted to shop with this model in mind, we ran out and bought a fridge full of healthy food, then had no idea how to cook with it. It’s a continuing struggle to learn healthy recipes, and cook from scratch, but while we can’t eat completely organic, we can incorporate more fruits & veggies in our diet, and with the research we’ve done on nutrition we have decided to attempt a vegetarian diet. The problem of organic would be solved if we could seasonally grow our food, so we signed up for a community garden, and started some tomatoes, peas, peppers, carrots, and greens, it’s not a lot, but it’s a start! In the meantime we are focusing on better ways to prepare and eat healthier food. We cleared mail, art projects, trash, leaves(?!) and crumbs off the table, then proceeded to keep it cleared off for all meals. We noticed it was hard to get four bowls of leftovers into and out of the microwave, once the fourth bowl is done the first bowl is cold – it was okay when we watched a movie, and just ate the food as it was warmed up, but this process was not working well for sitting at the table and eating together. So we started warming food up on stove, and we were amazed at the difference in taste! Why had we been using a microwave all these years?

DNA Altering Food, July 2012
Genetically Modified Foods, or GMOs, sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but really we have been eating them since the 1980’s, around 1995 they suddenly appeared in 2/3rds of all US processed foods. To genetically change a seed, they take the DNA from other plants and animals, and inject it into the seed, organisms that cross unnatural gene lines, such as tomato seed genes crossed with fish genes. The idea is to make these plants resistant to bugs and pesticides, but it is polluting the world’s food supply while it kills the good bugs with the bad, like bees and butterflies. Could it be killing us too? Yes. Health concerns for these new seeds are legion, the worst being cancer, allergies, and antibiotic resistance, all of which are on the rise over the last two decades. Many studies are accessible, and scientists who are not on the payroll of the seed maker, Monsanto, are worried about the long-term health effects. “[GMOs] can replicate themselves out of control in the wild. This can happen, without warning, inside of our bodies creating an unpredictable chain reaction. The impact can be passed on to future generations.” Some GMO crops include soy, corn, rice & canola-think how many foods contain corn syrup, or canola oil. Experts say 60% to 70% of processed foods in the US have genetically modified ingredients. Most corn and soy are now GMO grown, and the USDA maintains the rule that they do not have to be labeled. In Europe all GMO foods have required labeling, and in England GMO food is not even allowed to be grown! They don’t want their seeds contaminated. The tainted seeds fly on the wind up to seven miles away, contaminating regular seeds across the county, and if that was not bad enough, the maker of these evil mutant seeds is suing any farm that their seeds land on, as if the farmers can control the wind. And in every case that goes to court, Monsanto wins – this is truly a sad world that we live in. Even the cows, chickens, and fish are being fed GMO corn, so we are eating it from every source. The obviously best way to eat, is to grow all of your own food, but even that has its hazards with Monsanto looming over every patch of soil. The absolutely most terrifying part? The GMO seeds are ‘programed to be sterile’ and the worry is that the sterile seed effect will spread through natural pollination, and result in the sterilization of all natural plants. Effectively killing off our entire food supply in the future……it’s too unreal, makes me want to cry.

The Scrapbook Pages: