Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Pollinator Week?

This year, national Pollinator Week was 'celebrated' June 22-June 28.  And, perhaps some of you noticed posts in the social media or maybe there was a mention in your news outlet of choice.  But, if you looked more closely, you might find that those who were yelling loudest about pollinator week this year were those businesses that do the most to harm our pollinator populations.  Foremost among them is Bayer Corp with a "Blue Ribbon Bee Keeper Award" and a seed giveaway.
Do not confuse 'pollinator' with honey bees... honey bees are only one kind of pollinator!

Who Do We Trust With Pollinator News?
Bayer was among the forerunners of companies that researched the development of neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been shown to harm pollinators of all types (this link is from the Xerces Society, whom I trust to provide balanced and factual resources).  In fact, the Xerces Society provides a searchable database for research regarding the dangers of pesticides for invertebrates.

What does Bayer do?  They provide this little web page giving lip service to bee health.  Essentially, Bayer makes a claim that their products are necessary and that neonicotinoids do not harm pollinators... well.. just honey bees actually.  Read what they have there and notice that they provide a link on the words "research shows."  It's the only link in the text.  And where does it go?

To a website hosted by an organization that is sponsored by Bayer, Syngenta, etc etc.   And it does NOT go directly to any research.  THIS is why you bother to check out your resources and why you bother to read things carefully.  Otherwise, you might begin to believe that Bayer really does care about pollinators.

Why is this lawn overgrown?
Why National Pollinator Week Wasn't Viable This Year
Most organizations that are truly concerned about pollinator health have backed off of promoting the national 'pollinator week' for two reasons.

1. The national week has been co-opted by companies like Bayer.
2. Most organizations who are truly concerned about pollinator health were concerned that there were other important things going on that needed national attention during the scheduled week.  Things like Black Lives Matter and the Covid 19 pandemic.

The good news here is that organizations who truly promote pollinators realize a national week isn't really all that important when it comes to the effort to protect them.  What the national week did was give a nod that it's a big enough issue to get a little recognition.  It's more than recognition that the pollinators need.

Here is some of what is in that overgrown lawn
What Matters Is What YOU Do
I have heard the argument that large businesses and people with the most money and power have so much control that it doesn't matter what each of us does in the grand scheme of things.  Ok, I'll grant you that I don't have much power in this world on my own.  But, I have enough power to make a difference.

On our fifteen acre farm, we have habitat for a significant number of invertebrates of all types.  We have two honey bee hives.  We know we have orchard bees and bumble bees and Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds.

We leave parts of our lawn unmowed so the clover can bloom and the critters can eat.  Then, we mow it down so we can get another bloom later in the year.  We plant flowers that provide a food source for pollinators and we try our best to have a bloom period that lasts as long as we can get it.  We let the dandelions bloom.  We don't try to tame every square inch of our farm.  And, we keep learning and doing our best to change as we figure things out.

What we do matters to the tens of thousands of creatures that live on the Genuine Faux Farm or pass through here.  If we do our part here and you do your part where you are, we can make a difference.  And, if we actually take the time to start pushing for real changes that will support pollinators world-wide, we might be surprised how things will turn out.

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