“Imagine a summer picnic without the foods we pollinate - lemonade without lemons, PB&J sandwiches without the peanut butter or the jelly, no watermelon, no salsa or guacamole for chips, fruit salad made with only bananas and pineapple, no tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers and on and on!” The crowd hummed with well-deserved pride.
“But these are treacherous times. As I’m sure you know, our populations are being decimated; dangers abound! So with an update on safety concerns please welcome our next speakers, Heloise Honey and Buzz Bumble.”
Heloise took the podium and displayed a slide of a beautifully manicured suburban lawn. “Exhibit ‘A’”, she began, “so-named to stand for ‘Argh!’ The grass is lush, green and weed-free only because it’s loaded with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Much of that fertilizer runs off ending up in lakes and streams choking our aquatic friends. But those pesticides…they’re after you and me!
“Many homeowners excessively over-use lawn and gardens pesticides, some having manufacturer-recommended application rates up to 120 times higher than rates approved for agricultural crops! The neonicotinoids (neonics) are particularly dangerous. Beware of them! Also, in this yard there’s a complete absence of organic debris, and only non-native flowers, shrubs and ornamental trees. Where’s the food, shelter and water for us?” Heloise concluded.
“And now for Exhibit ‘B’,” Buzz began. “‘B’ for Bee-utiful for Butterflies, Birds and Bees. This slide shows a lawn of mostly native flowers and shrubs including early, mid, and late summer bloomers. The reduced mowed area leaves room for a small compost pile and veggie garden. What a feast! With minimal use of pesticides this homeowner is sending an invitation to us, the butterflies and the birds. Even the microbes in the ground are happy, healthy, and busily adding to the fertility of the soil.
“Wise humans know that fostering a healthy environment for us means a better world for everyone because, after all, this is only home we’ll all ever share, right here where we’re all forever…Earthbound.”