So, May 20 is World Bee Day, celebrated by the United Nations. A good day to be buzzing around nature maybe, noticing things growing and much of that due to the pollinators, noticing life, and the flurry of natural sounds not made by cars or phone or television sets. Absolutely! But it’s also a day to think about our impact on society, each of us, the impact of the choices we make, the impact of large companies and governments, and what we can do about that, and both the big and small changes that are needed to keep bees, and life, going.
Bees are essential to our habitat, as you probably have seen in popular trended images. Bees, but also pollinators like bats, butterflies, and hummingbirds, maintain biodiversity and keep the ecosystem alive. Most people associate bees with just honey, but they do so much more as far as pollination at a level that cannot be comprehended for a wide array of plants that flower or are used for medicine or become food for us and other animals. According to Earthday.org, Bees pollinate approximately $15 billion worth of crops in the US, and also honey, which they produce, was valued as a $3.2 million industry in 2017. Even if we are not concerned with our commercial success, or the wealth of the planet, bees are a unique and complex animal, with their own intricate communication system and their ability to adapt.
Bees are also continuously threatened, perhaps often not intentionally, by human activity, invasion of their habitat, chemical pesticides, introduction of invasive insects and diseases, climate change and how weather conditions affect small animals, and the general us not taking the problem too seriously until it’s too late…
The UN states, “we all depend on the survival of bees.” Today they call for action to support pollinators, like friendly agricultural production, while contributing to sustainable and resilient food systems. Maybe today, educate yourself on the importance of bees. or if you have a farm or a garden, it’s easy to find things you can do to make your space friendlier to those small but powerful insects. If you can, join an environmental group or lend support, or sponsor a beehive. Or maybe just take five minutes to take a peek at some of the websites here of which there are so many more. Maybe mention this to somebody else who hadn’t thought about it. Everything could have an impact.
In addition, yesterday was Endangered Species Day and according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, there are 42,108 species on the red list as threatened. We live in a world where so many creatures and plants are so close to extinction, where we don’t actually see them dying and it’s not like we’re looking away because we have to seek out that information and it’s easier not to. But even if we’re only centered on ourselves, we have to be aware of the impact that the loss of all of these lifeforms will have on the human species, and starting with the poorest areas, and the people who voices we might not hear.
I know if you follow all of the observances of the year you might get lost in things like National be a Millionaire Day or Chocolate Cake Week, not to mention our own personal observances. But these things are just meant to remind us to think about things, and the ones I’m pointing out here really are quite important things to think about. We can’t pretend to be perfect in our effort, I make no pretense, but we can care.