It’s ‘Pollinator Week’! Save The Planet By Saving The Birds And The Bees
June 18-24, 2012 is officially National Pollinator Week, a time to focus on those critters who contribute a lot more than most people know to the great circle of life. This is the 6th annual National Pollinator Week, after the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of the last week in June as such.
Some quarter-million kinds of flowering plants, including 75% of our crops, depend largely on animals for reproduction; the animals carry pollen (intentionally, like bees, or accidentally, like birds) from male flower parts to female flower parts, which enables the plants to produce fruits and seeds. Wind plays a lesser role in pollination.
Honey bees are probably the best-known pollinators, and they have the added benefit of making that delicious honey that humans, and bears, and so many other animals are so fond of. But bees are rapidly dying off, due to human activities such as use of pesticides and destruction of habitat.
Pesticides were developed to kill the bugs that “bug” us, but along with that convenience comes the awful toll of beneficial-insect deaths and the general poisoning of our entire life support system: this beautiful Earth.
There are lots of other pollinators besides bees. Approximately 100,000 – 200,000 different animal species play a role in helping all these plants reproduce. Honey bees pollinate about $10 billion worth of U.S. crops every year, but only about 15% of the world’s food crops. More than 80% of these are pollinated by wild bees and other wildlife, such as bats, wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds, flying foxes, possums, flies, beetles, and many more.
As the pollinators are killed off by human carelessness and greed, they leave our food supply dwindling — in quantity and in quality. Climate changes very well might disrupt the flowering and migration patterns of the plants and pollinators, causing even more interruption in the food supply for humans and all other animals.
Without our little pollinator friends, there won’t be enough food to go around. Only the richest and meanest, as in ‘The Ones Who are Doing the Damage’, will have enough to eat.
And this on top of all the other kinds of environmental destruction. If enough of us care, if enough of us push back against the destruction, humanity may yet survive this generation.
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