Diggout From Inder

That title was a typo, but I decided I liked the twist on “digging out from under”. So here I am, finally with computer issues sorted out and a HEAP of blogging buzzing around in me head, so without further ado, let’s start with:

IN RATHER A JAM

Last week was National Pollinator Week. Yes, I missed it, but Bug Girl didn’t! Pollinators include not only honeybees, but also solitary bees, bumblebees, various species of wasps, flies, butterflies & moths, bats, and birds. Honeybees are not native to the Americas, but are vital to the production of other equally non-native crops, such as most tree fruits, bramble fruits, tree nuts, herbs, seeds for vegetables and herbs and flowers, the clover and alfalfa consumed by our non-native livestock, cotton, even wine grapes. As Bug Girl points out, the estimated value of all this pollen-transfer is in the billions (with a B) of dollars for the US alone — it is multiply times larger when you consider all the crop production in the rest of the world, such as tropical crops like neem, coffee, tea, and chocolate!

The reason why I have the nearly-empty jar of jam pictured is because pollinators are not only vitally important for anyone who likes to eat (or wear cotton et cetera), but also because Colony Collapse Disorder is creating great losses of honeybees. According to a recent release by the USDA, honeybees are responsible for the pollination of 130 major crops, at a value of $ 15 billion annually. Beekeepers lost 31% of their hives in 2006, and then 35% in 2007. Not only are food prices rising due to a number of other factors (drought, flooding, fuel costs), but also from the reduced production of produce due to honeybee losses. Do your part to protect pollinators by using any pesticides only when necessary, and following the directions carefully — for example, Sevin is toxic to honeybees, and if you see honeybees around, they are likely someone’s livestock. (You wouldn’t stop by a field and start shooting cattle, would you?) I made a large batch of fantastic blueberry conserve with lemon last year, but this year berry production has dropped, so the quarts of produce are just too dear (expensive). When this jar is empty, we have No. More. Left.

“BLAST THE CRUSHING FORCES OF STUPIDITY!”

In other topics, the Carnival of the Elitist Bastards #2 has just been posted, and the ship returns to dock full of stories. Not familiar with this new carnival? Their description asks of you,

You can help raise the level of our public discourse from the subgutter of stupidity in which it currently resides. All you have to do is celebrate your own intelligence.
You don’t have to be erudite or loquacious. You don’t have to be particularly learned or expert. Just say what you think. What do you think about the dumbing down of the media? Education? Politics? Why do you suppose our cultures celebrate jocks, but not genius?
Write about what delights you. Do you read science tomes for pleasure? Avoid Survivor in favor of Nova? What do you do that causes the folks around you to roll their eyes and say, “You know too much!”
Are you a wine snob? Cigar afficianado? Horticulturalist? Gourmand? All of us have at least one interest that might be considered elite. Talk about it. Educate the rest of us Elitist Bastards. Let us learn something new.
Saving the world is a noble goal. Savoring it may be just as important. As Elitist Bastards, I think we can manage both.

Surely you can manage that, right? I know the caliber of the regular readership here — go check it out!

more posts soon,

andrea

1 Comment

  1. Barbara said,

    5 July 2008 at 0:52

    Happy 4th, Andrea. I enjoy your blog very much.

    My hubby has downloaded all those insect minis – after seeing the first one on your blog. Thanks so much – he will use them in teaching – 7th grade science.

    Hoping you don’t mind, I tagged you for an “award” at my blog. Go there if you want to pick it up, or not. I think the worst that will happen is that a few more people might visit you while the post is on top.

    All the best, Barbara


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