Cornwall ON – About a week and a half ago I was driving along the highway with my window half open as it was a marvelous warm sunny afternoon. Suddenly I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my back under my left shoulder blade. The pain was such that it caused me to raise my back away from my seat, away from the pain. This however did not relieve the pain.
So I stopped my vehicle to search for the object causing such irritation. I could not find anything protruding from my seat so I continued. Once on the go I felt the pain again so I stopped to make another search. This time I found a struggling bee on the floor. Obviously the little creature had inadvertently flown into my seat and my weight on its tiny little body had caused it to sting me in the interest of self preservation. I had been stung in the knee as a small child so I wasn’t concerned about any adverse allergic reaction.
The irritation and swelling due to this incident subsided after some 12 hours. Why am I bringing this up? I am in the midst of reading a book entitled “Keeping the Bees”, why all bees are at risk and what we can do to save them.
The author, Laurence Packer, is a melittologist at York University in Toronto. Packer has and continues to travel world wide searching for and identifying new bee species. Everywhere he has traveled has led him to the same unsettling trend. Our bees are disappearing.
A world without bees would be much less colourful and could certainly result in our own demise. These tiny partners of ours play an invaluable role in the ecology of our earth. Bees are responsible for up to one-third of our food supply world wide. China is fully aware of the consequences of us not taking action to protect them from pesticide use and habitat loss. Portions of China have seen bee populations wiped out in specific orchards so the flowers now have to be pollinated directly by human hands using special pollinating paintbrushes.
Unfortunately people rarely understand the interconectedness of species and the reliance of one species existence on another until it is too late or we find its continued existence is at extreme risk under current conditions.
We are in fact not helping our own bee populations here in Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties. Our County’s Road Department continues to spray our county road sides with chemicals that many professional associations are concerned about. These road sides are being sprayed to control wild parsnip when non chemical means of control can be used and also noting that these chemicals kill off other broad leaf plants which include food sources for bees and other living organisms.
Our monoculture farm lands filled with corn and soy cannot sustain healthy bee populations. I have also noted that some farmers do not leave hedgerows or buffer zones around streams and creeks through their fields stressing the populations of bees further. Bees and many other life forms require these last bastions of land to live and thrive. Places that they can find shelter, food and cover. We cannot survive without these things and neither can the bees or any other life forms.
So why am I mentioning this today. It is an election year. I will be making the rounds to our ‘all candidate meetings’ and asking questions. Will you? Looking after our environment, insuring there are wild, clean places for our people, our populations of birds, fish, animals and insects to live is important to me and for our future generations.
We owe our children and all the entities that we share this land with our respect and our forethought to keep us and them healthy. My vote is for the candidates that understand if they make decisions considering the health and welfare of our water, air, land and the fitness of all the living things that reside with us; they are doing the best they can for me and my community.
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