#36alive 116: Save The Bees: Small Changes That Could Save 30% Of The World’s Crops

 

White_Tailed_BBCT_3_RS_550_332A few years ago, scientists and wildlife experts released the news that bees were in danger. Other than a few less bee stings, and less annoyance when sitting outside in a beer garden, no bees actually means bad news for all of us….

A thriving natural environment depends upon a careful balance, and just one issue within this balance can cause sever effects. Bees tend to be one of the most important parts of helping nature remain balanced – and when we say nature, we mean everything natural, including all the fresh food we buy and eat.

Texas-Wildflowers-710x400Through pollination, bees carry pollen from one plant to another, fertilising the plant so it can grow and eventually produce food. Cross-pollination helps about 30% of the world’s crops, meaning that if there were no more bees, there would be 30% less crops and therefore 30% less food globally.

Food shortage is already an issue in developing countries, and unsustainable farming is leading to a shortage of land and plants too. It’s not just the food humans eat that cp_UA-7_seedtoharvest_northeast_article_2depends on pollination from bees; it’s the crops used to feed animals raised to provide dairy products and meat too.

Changes to the UK countryside and an increased use of pesticides means the classic bumblebee is dying out at an alarming rate. Changes in the landscape, mostly due to deforestation and using land to build on, and chemical sprays used on crops, means there are far less wild plants and flowers, and less bee-friendly crops than there were even about 10 years ago. Bees depend upon these wildflowers in order to survive, and so as they decline, so does the number of bees.

Honey+Bee+-+Honeycomb+YellowIn order to encourage the bee population to grow, and therefore ensure the crops we depend upon for food continue to be available, it’s important we do what we can to protect bees. (Without our own harvest of crops, the UK would solely rely upon importing food from other countries, resulting in much higher supermarket prices, and less fresh food available).

How To Help The Bees:

  • Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers in your garden, including lilacs, sage, lavender, tomatoes, mint, sunflowers, rosemary, poppies, and honeysuckle.
  • Let wildflowers and weeds grow, bees and other pollinators love them!
  • Don’t use chemicals to treat your lawn
  • Use peat-free compost
  • Buy food from a local farmer’s market
  • Buy local, raw honey
  • Let your grass grow a little longer

 

If you find other ways of helping to protect the bees, share them here, and know that by making a small change you’re helping to maintain 30% of the world’s food supply!

outdoor wheat field yellow spike detail

 

 

 

 

 

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