Monday, January 27, 2014

What Are the Bees Telling Us?

bee eating
bee eating (Photo credit: acidpix)
Important! The producers of this powerful film are allowing a full and FREE viewing for a limited time only! Please tell everyone you know to watch this film in its entirety. ClickHERE to purchase the DVD for 50% off! This limited time offer ends on 2/1.
This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

By Dr. Mercola
Honey bees are responsible for producing one-third of your fresh fruits and vegetables, but they're disappearing at a startling rate.
Since the mid-2000s, honey bees all around the world, including the US, have been dying in unprecedented numbers—many hives literally disappearing without a trace—in a mysterious phenomenon dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?,1 created by Taggart Siegel, takes us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive. This engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists, and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk, and Vandana Shiva. Together they reveal both the problems and solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.
It also explores the ancient relationship between man and bees—a relationship that, historically, was considered nothing less than sacred. Returning to life in balance with nature is the ultimate solution, and when it comes to bees, it's something we'll have to do lest we risk perishing right along with them.
Some 130 different kinds of crops require honeybees to transport pollen between flowers, prompting fertilization and jump-starting the production of seed and fruit. As they buzz around in flight, the bee's hair develops static electricity.
When a bee lands on a flower, this static charge attracts pollen to the bee like a magnet. Honey bees from one hive can visit more than 100,000 flowers in a single day. Without honey bees, farmers would have to resort to pollinating their crops by hand, which is no quick and easy task...

Honey Bees Are Crucial for Our Environment and Survival

In an interview with The Press, a daily newspaper in New Zealand, Taggart Siegel revealed the inspiration behind the film:2
"I had no idea about the importance of honeybees until I read an article in 2007 that bees were not only so crucial to our environment, but that they were dying out on a mass scale...
The article had a quote attributed to Einstein which scared me enough to get me to pick up my camera and dedicate the next three years of my life to this film. The quote read, 'If bees die out, man will only have four years of life left on Earth.' Even though this quote has been since disputed, it had a lasting effect on me, and the truth is that bees are so vital to our planet that we can't afford to lose them."
Despite the somber topic, Queen of the Sun is not a downer by any means. On the contrary, it's filled with the heart of eclectic and passionate characters that inspire hope and gratitude for these most important of agricultural workers.
For example, there's historian Yvon Achard, who recites poetry to his bees and tickles them with his mustache, and Sara Mapelli, who once danced with 12,000 bees on her body (she's the bee-covered woman shown on the DVD cover).

What's Killing the Bees?

The collapse of bee colonies is probably multifactorial, rather than a response to one individual type of toxic assault. That said, certain pesticides calledneonicotinoids have been identified as having a particularly devastating impact on bee health and survival.
Bee colonies began disappearing in the US shortly after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market. Even the EPA itself admits that "pesticide poisoning" is a likely cause of CCD. Two prominent examples, imidacloprid and clothianidin, are used as seed treatments in hundreds of crops, and virtually all of today's genetically engineered Bt corn is treated with neonicotinoids.
One of the observed effects of these insecticides is weakening of the bee's immune system. Forager bees bring pesticide-laden pollen back to the hive, where it's consumed by all of the bees. About six months later, their immune systems fail, and they end up contracting secondary infections from parasites, mites, viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
Monoculture—the practice of growing of just one type of crop on a massive scale—is another major contributing factor, as there is no such thing as monoculture in nature. In the past, farms were highly diversified, with all sorts of animals and vegetation cohabiting on the land. Today, fields of corn and soy stretch for hundreds of miles.
As it turns out, pests thrive in monoculture, so massive quantities of pesticides are required to keep them in check. Monoculture also cuts down on the variety of nutrition the bees get. In some areas, bees simply cannot survive due to lack of food.
While experts are still trying to understand the complexities involved in CCD, they do agree about one thing: if we allow this to continue, our global food supply is at risk... And, as stated in the film:
"Colony collapse disorder is the bill we're getting for all the things we've done to the bees. You could call it colony collapse disorder of the human being too."

Reclaiming the Sacred Relationship with Bees

As stated in the film, the solution to this pervasive and downright life threatening problem lies in renewing a culture that operates in balance with nature. As stated by the filmmaker:3
"In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist, philosopher and social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. His prediction has come true with Colony Collapse Disorder where bees are disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear explanation.
...On a pilgrimage around the world, 10,000 years of beekeeping is unveiled, highlighting how our historic and sacred relationship with bees has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices."
Supporting organic beekeepers is one way you can help turn the tide and increase the number of healthy bee colonies, which are so crucial to our food supply. Organic beekeepers take a far different approach to beekeeping than large migratory operations. They have fewer hives, and they don't truck their bees around for pollination. They also don't feed their bees the sugar syrups and artificial pollen substitutes typically used in large-scale commercial bee operations. As stated by Michael Pollan, "Nothing is more viscerally offensive than feeding the creators of honey high-fructose corn syrup."

What You Can Do to Help Protect the Bees

Queen of the Sun has a section on their website4 devoted to things you can do to help protect our honey bees. Here are some suggestions for actions you can take:
  • Support organic farmers and shop at local farmer's markets as often as possible. You can "vote with your fork" three times a day.
  • Cut the use of toxic chemicals in your house and on your lawn, and use organic pest control.
  • Better yet, get rid of your lawn altogether and plant a garden. Both flower and vegetable gardens provide good honey bee habitats. It's also recommended to keep a small basin of fresh water in your garden or backyard, as bees actually do get thirsty!
  • Become an amateur beekeeper. Having a hive in your garden requires only about an hour of your time per week, benefits your local ecosystem, and you can enjoy your own honey!  As Queen of the Sun shows, many city dwellers are becoming adept smalltime beekeepers.
For educators, there's a free PDF,5 written by Waldorf teacher Lauren Johnson, which you can download and use as your curriculum. It also contains a guide to creating your own urban beehive tour. You can also host a screening of Queen of the Sun. For more details and instructions, please see the Queen of the Sun website.6 There you can also sign up for their newsletter for timely updates. If you are interested in more information about bee preservation, the following organizations are a good place to start.
  • Pesticide Action Network Bee Campaign7
  • The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees8
  • American Beekeeping Federation9
  • Help the Honey Bees10
Enhanced by Zemanta

Gloucester, VA Main Street Ice Hazards, January, 2014

A week after our first major snowfall, we went for a walk through the Gloucester, Main Street District and were shocked to find that many of the sidewalks were never cleared from snow and ice from the winter storm we had a week ago.  The sidewalks throughout the business district were not only a disgrace, they were down and outright dangerous to walk over.  Above you can see a series of pictures we took of area conditions.

  Several major shockers we found were one site that did not clear ice and snow from their sidewalks was one of the Insurance companies, Prudential and Blue Cross Blue Shield rep office on Main Street and the other big one was out in front of the Cook Foundation at the old Coke building.  The Cook foundation is a part of the Gloucester Main Street Association and the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust along with Attorney Hicks in the same building.

  Both the Gloucester Main Street Association and the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust are always trying to promote Gloucester Main Street and here they are not even taking care of such basics as cleaning their own sidewalks.  That is a disgrace.

  What was even worse.  We ran into several contractors measuring the sidewalks and streets as the State and Federal Government are putting money into paving the Main Street come this spring or summer.  Their own take on the area sidewalks?  Too narrow, littered with lightposts in the walkway, the pitch in some area were above grade making walking for anyone with a handicap, potentially very dangerous and they questioned the clearances for wheelchairs.  (We did tell them that we measured these last year and they barely passed). We did not even have to point these issues out to them in the least.  They already saw it.

  In Washington, DC shop owners had 24 hours from the time of snowfall to clear the sidewalks in front of their businesses or get fined.  Is it the policy of the county to just let shoppers fall and get hurt and just sue the businesses as an overall policy.  What a great public relations effect that will have.  People want businesses to come to the Main Street District but don't worry, you won't have to work to get customers, none will come with this kind of nonsense.  

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gloucester, VA Animal Control Costs Still At About $600.00 Per Incarcerated Doggie

On January 6th, 2014 we did a  story on the outrageous costs we are paying here in the county for Animal Control and how it is costing us about $600.00 per doggie or kitty caught, which takes about two days per animal, and compared that to how one can call an ambulance to save a life at an average cost of about $400.00.

The above is an internal link to that story here on this site.

Here are the latest figures from the county as reported in the Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal.  We have to get the information from them because the Animal Control department seems incapable of keeping it's own figures up to date on their web page.  The last entry they have is from 2011.

  The month of December, 2013, calls were down from last year, 237 for 2013 compared to 300 the year before.  43 lost dogs were reported, 41 general inquiries, 37 residents responding to correspondence, 35 stray dogs 13 cruelty cases, (May have been filed against one owner of anywhere from 1 to 6 animals), and 11 cat cases.  What these numbers say?  Nothing other than the secretary answered some phone calls and letters in between filing...... her nails.  It says nothing about how many calls Animal Control officers responded to.  Gee, was this by design?

  The only definitive information that was in the story was that Animal Control officers racked up a hefty 67.5 hours of overtime for the month by going out after hours during the week and calls on the weekend.  This we can only imagine that a good bit of it is above their monthly budgeted payroll plan.  We have to assume that there is some money held in the budget for OT for nights and weekend calls.

  This department is already obviously heavily bloated with way too much personnel that has shown over and over again to not even be capable of following it's own ordinances they are supposed to enforce.  The latest is Animal Control Officer Jeff Stihlman driving down Main Street while playing with his cell phone.  Was he texting?  This was early this morning, January 27th, 2014.  If the county is not looking to cut this department substantially, then we have a serious suggestion for at least ensuring that there will by no further OT expenses.

  There are 3 full time Animal Control officers and one part time Animal Control officer along with one full time secretary.  Why are these people all working a first shift, Monday through Friday if there are calls being answered during the weekday evenings and also on weekends?  Why not run multiple shifts and also incorporate a weekend shift?  This gets rid of the potential for the ridiculous overtime these folks like to rack up.  Put the keystone cops, err.....Animal Control officers to work in a much improved working environment for serving the county if we are going to keep this bloated expense to the taxpayers.  $600.00 per doggie caught and incarcerated?  Really?  The county can't do better than that?

  $400.00 to save a life but $600.00 to put a doggie in doggie jail and it takes two days per doggie?    $600.00 per animal handled for November, 2013 and about the same for December, 2013.  $600.00.  Can anyone think of anything better to do with $600.00?  How much food would that put on your table?  How much gas would that buy?  For some, $600.00 pays their mortgage.  $600.00 would pay a good amount of bills that keep piling up.  How much dog food would $600.00 buy?  How much cat food would $600.00 buy?  Come on folks, these people are costing us all a small fortune and for what?  We do not need these bloated costs and no human lives are being saved?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Gloucester, VA Public Schools 10 Years Ago, The Story Of The "Kiser"

Just recently the Gloucester Mathews Gazette Journal ran an historical piece on Gloucester Public schools and it features information about school Superintendent, Ben Kiser.

  The story reads a little something like this.  "10 Years Ago, Thursday, January 15th, 2004.  Gloucester County School Board heard Tuesday that several administrators will be hitting the road to search for candidates to fill personnel openings.  The "Kiser", Public School division superintendent stated he was dedicated to having only the best teachers in Gloucester classrooms.

  Here we are 10 years later, saddled in an extra 26 million plus dollars in direct interest bearing debt thanks in great part to the "Kiser" and we have a high school that is about to fail accreditation and the "Kiser" is retiring.  A failed mission, failed policies and failures to our youth and the community that made the serious mistake in investing in the guy from our viewpoint.  He has a great shot at being the next governor with that kind of track record.

Just a note to the "Kiser", thanks for nothing.
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Globalist Asia, Edition 196, January 2104 Podcast

Asia Society
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Catch the latest International perspective news from England.  Don't have time to listen to the entire Globalist Asia program now?  Download a copy of this podcast and listen to it on the go.  News your way when you want it.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Governor McAuliffe Statement on 6th Senate District Election Results

English: Former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe spea...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement on the 6th Senate District election results:

“I’d like to congratulate Lynwood Lewis for his victory in Virginia’s 6thSenate District election and commend Wayne Coleman for participating in this process with professionalism and respect.  I am glad that the process of filling each vacant seat in the General Assembly is now complete and I look forward to working with Lynwood and members of both parties in the General Assembly to tackle the challenges facing Virginia’s economy and communities.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Buck Sexton Show, Podcast Jan, 25th, 2014

Podcast Capture
Podcast Capture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buck Sexton show podcast from this past weekend.  If you missed it, here it is again.  You can download the show to listen to it on the go.  The latest Neoconservative Rhetoric.  Sounds like conservatism until you actually break it down and realize it's anything but.
Enhanced by Zemanta