August 04, 2013

Sunflowers, bees & Colony Collapse Disorder

I think sunflowers are beautiful. They come in several colours, grow incredibly tall, and offer their seeds to birds and other creatures. At VanDusen Gardens, the wonderful sunflower garden is full of bees.

Bees are truly wonderful creatures. They produce honey, a pure food if ever there was one. They also pollinate a multitude of plants. Through pollination, they are, quite possibly, essential to life on this planet. In fact, according to the UN, of the one hundred crops responsible for providing 90 percent of world food needs, seventy-one are dependent on bee pollination. Bees are certainly essential to human life.

Over the past six years, more than ten million bee hives have been wiped out due to something called Colony Collapse Disorder. Investigations continue into the cause of the problem with increasing concern about the use of pesticides and fungicides.

This past winter thirty percent of bee colonies in the US were wiped out. In the UK, almost half of their hives were lost. In Canada, thirty percent declines have been reported annually for the past three years.

CCD has been going on for years with slightly increasing media coverage each year, usually involving the economic impact of the crisis. The crisis is much larger than that and all of us should be aware of the problem. Citizens can make a difference, by making informed decisions when shopping, and in demanding more oversight by our governments in the use of agricultural chemicals .

A recent article in the Globe & Mail is worth a read, as is the weekly series just beginning in The Guardian. It is called Buzzfeeds and appears every Tuesday.

All photos copyrighted by Jim Murray. 
Reproduction, without permission , 
is prohibited.

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