Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sustainable living in DC, page 2

From: GreenHornet
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 2:45 AM
Subject: Sustainable living in DC, page 2

As though we didn't have enough to worry about with the stresses of oil depletion, it seems like crises are brewing and converging from all sides. Now it's the bees. Where are they anyway? Peach blossoms dropped off my two dwarf trees as usual, but no peaches began forming. Then I remembered: I haven't seen a single honeybee so far this year. Yeah, I read on the Drudge Report that somebody else noticed and blamed cell phone towers. There was a short piece in the Washington Post about that too. Then I noticed an article about missing bees in -of all places-this month's Smithsonian Magazine. That magazine article said that many things could be killing the bees, from cell phone towers to global climate change to pesticides. But another possibility the magazine cites is that the die-off is a "multiple stress disorder." I've heard that if the bees die off, many of major fruit and nut crops will too, and we'll be next.

Also, where are the backyard birds? I still have a few wrens, and the robins show up quickly when I empty the worm culture bin into my garden. But even the robins look a little frazzled, like they need some sleep. Is West Nile virus killing them off? Is something else stressing them?

And they say this hurricane season will be a doozy. Just what we need: The oil refinery and distribution system is fragile enough, and if we have another big one like Katrina, maybe we'll move from $6/gallon gas to spotty supplies at best.

At least some things in my garden don't need bees. In fact, I'm not sure what doesn't need bees since I've always taken them for granted. Now if only we can find a way to make a complete meal out of leaf lettuce. Until the summer comes, it gets really hot, and the lettuce is gone.

Our just-in-time grocery distribution system depends mainly on trucks whose transportation fuels, will also become unreliable. I can see it now, the fresh vegetable racks empty; quotas on fresh milk.

It feels like a multiple-stress disorder.


Rainey said...

Ahh, GreenHornet, I've been missing the bees too. Or are they out of season now? I remember in the spring, and even the beginning of summer, when there were oodles of big fat fluffy bumblebees busily sampling my borage. The bees have taken such a hit in the last decade or two. When I first heard about the current bee woe, I thought it was the same as the parasite that got a lot of the bees around here in the 90s. Butthey bounced back before, right? The *could* bounce back again....right?!?

JW said...

Damn well better hope they do. Refer to here for a high level overview. As to the current bout of problems, the actual term for it is Colony Collapse Disorder. While cell phone towers were an early suspect, there's a lot of indicators that haven't been ruled out yet including pesticides and fungus.