More Bees Please

For such a small creature, bees truly make a big impact. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food that we eat is only possible because of pollinators like honey bees. It only makes sense that we do everything in our power to keep local bees strong and healthy, so they can keep doing what they do.

Did you know that it takes about two million flowers and 556 honeybees to make one pound of honey?

What bees need most is pollen and nectar. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Plant a variety of wildflowers, perennials and trees ensuring that you have blooms from April to October.
  2. Avoid using any kind of pesticides (they kill insects).
  3. Only use herbicides when plants are not in bloom and so that it doesn’t touch any standing water (bees need clean food and water supplies).

Articles that may spark even more ideas:

  1. Spare the dandelions, save some bees
    Dandelions are an early source of food for bees so leave them on your lawn all summer or at least until other blooms appear.
  2. Feeling lucky? Plant a clover lawn
    Replace grass with bee-friendly plants such as creeping thyme, self-heal and dutch white clover.
  3. Buy local honey
    Supporting beekeepers in your area not only keeps the local economy strong, it provides you with the purest form of honey.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to help our amazing bees.

Wisdom from the Honey Bee

I recently attended a speaking event called “Lessons from the Humble Honey Bee” through an organization called Ladies Out Loud (details below). Guest speaker, Lori DuMont, was informative, entertaining and truly inspiring!

While Lori covered interesting facts about bees and beekeeping, it was the life lessons we can take from them that I want to share with you.

All jobs are important

  • Whatever you are doing, whether you are the queen, worker or drone, your skills and tasks are vital to the community.

The queen bee works for the colony

  • No matter what your position, always work for the benefit of the group.

Look to the future to prepare and thrive

  • Prepare diligently and methodically for harder times.

Success requires a non-partisan, informed democracy

  • Share wisdom and communicate effectively with each other, always with the focus of benefiting the whole.

Your 1/12 of a teaspoon counts!

  • Each individual honey bee provides about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is, it still counts!

As we watch what is happening around the world, it can feel discouraging. Will our efforts make a difference? The humble honey bee says YES!

Every little thing we do helps to make the world a better place. Keep going!

Biographies

Lori DuMont is a teacher, pianist, bibliophile, gardener, and honeybee enthusiast. She lives in Airdrie with her husband and two young children.

Ladies out Loud is for women who are interested in learning, who want to be inspired by other women, and who like to have fun and chat about anything and everything (website).

ABC Bees is a pioneer Canada-wide for beekeeping education and innovation. They are Alberta’s only educator of beginner, intermediate, and advanced beekeeping skills. (website)

Today Is The Day We Decide

There are many things I love about my husband. One of them is his constant focus on doing the right thing with regards to the environment.

We recycle and compost everything we can, as many people do. We also donate and reuse household items so as not to throw them out. If an item is no longer useable, my husband takes the time to find out how he can still recycle the materials (e.g. metal, etc.)

Just this past week our gas lawnmower, which was over 20 years old, finally gave up. After asking around my husband realized it would be just too expensive to repair and he doesn’t have the knowledge or tools to do it himself. He decided the best choice of action was to give it to someone who can repair it and buy himself a new one.

He came home with a push lawnmower.

Yes, they still make them. Good choice honey! I’m so proud of being married to someone who cares so much about our environment.

That said, we both realize that there is still much we can do to protect our beautiful world. There is much we can all do to help our environment.

Today is the day we can decide to do better.

This is the biggest thing David Suzuki has ever done. Around the world, more than 110 nations recognize the right to live in a healthy environment, but not Canada.

Together, we can change that: http://www.bluedot.ca/join-us

Celebrating Our Beautiful Earth

Today is Earth Day. Let us give our heartfelt gratitude to this beautiful planet in which we live.

Our Gift of EarthTake the time to go for a walk and look around. Notice the sparkling blue sky, the colors of the season, the diversity of the landscape, the flowers and plants coming alive.

Listen closely to hear the insects, birds and animals speaking to us.

Breathe deeply and inhale the scents that come from the earth; enjoy the feel of the air in your lungs.

While you drink and eat your meals, remember where the food came from and how our earth sustains us.

When you stop and think about it, we truly live in paradise. All our needs are taken care of.

Give thanks to our amazing world. It is a gift to cherish.

With a heart full of gratitude, quietly vow to give back to Mother Earth, as she so graciously gives to us.

 

Eat Real, Eat Local, Eat Canadian

Hellmann’s recently created an “Eat Real, Eat Local” campaign for Canadians. They inform Canadians about food that comes from far away – how it is not as nutritionally sound than that which comes from local farmers. As well, it looks at how much of Canadian farmland is being replaced by urban sprawl – for good or bad.

Do you know where your food comes from? Get informed. Watch the video “Get the Facts” on www.realfoodmovement.ca/latesttalk/get-informed/the-movement/.

The company answers “Why Hellmann’s?” with the following statement:  “Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise uses Canadian eggs and canola oil from the prairies. And we’re working on new ways to make the ingredients of many Hellmann’s products as real and natural as possible.”

Consumers can applaud a positive alliance that has been created between Hellmann’s and Evergreen (www.evergreen.ca). This alliance means that Canadians are being urged and encouraged to create and/or help sustain healthy urban land areas. From increasing the number of Farmer’s Markets to eliminating evasive species to making school yards out of natural materials instead of asphalt or concrete to turning vacant lots into parks and/or habitat spaces.

Money talks – and with an economic impact of $3.09B (yes, that’s Billion), farmers’ contribution to the Canadian economy is being recognized and supported. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has come on board with the buy local food stuffs campaign with support of a new national organization, Farmers’ Markets Canada, its new website www.farmersmarketscanada.ca.

Supporting your local farmers, who in turn support their local economies, is actually good for you. Good for you applies not only to your own personal health, but also to Canada’s stewardship of our portion of Mother Earth to keep it naturally healthy – literally and figuratively. The Airdrie Farmer’s Market starts in June 2010. Find out more at www.airdriefarmersmarket.com.

Hellmann’s tag line says it perfectly:

It’s Time to Eat Real.
It’s Time to Eat Local.

A Greener Christmas – Clean Up Environmentally

Once the gifts are opened and the turkey dinner finished, there are a few simple ways to help make Christmas more environmentally friendly and show “Goodwill to our Earth” after the festivities are over:

  1. Recycle wrapping – Be sure to recycle all wrapping paper, cardboard and cards. Keep anything that can be reused for next year.
  2. Recycle your tree – If you purchase a real Christmas tree this season, be sure to counter the effects of cutting down a tree by recycling it after the holidays. Consider buying a living tree and planting it in your garden in the spring.
  3. Environmentally friendly resolution – This New Year, resolve to find ways to reduce your carbon foot print throughout the New Year.
Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo December 12, 2007

A Greener Christmas – Gift Environmentally

Here are a few simple ways to help make Christmas more environmentally friendly and show “Goodwill to our Earth”

Gift Environmentally

  1. Green Giving – Purchase environmentally friendly gifts that support the environment. Gifts that: (a) minimize or eliminate power (electricity and battery) use; (b) have minimal or no packaging; (c) last a long time (lego set will last longer than craft supplies that get thrown out); and (d) made out of naturally made products (wooden toys as opposed to plastic);
  2. Wrapping Paper – Reduce the amount of paper used for wrapping gifts by wrapping gifts in a bag, a scarf, the Sunday comics, a holiday towel or reusing gift bags or boxes.
  3. Charity Gifts – Support a local charity in someone else’s name and give that as a gift this holiday season.
  4. Gift environmentally – There are many organizations, like the David Suzuki Foundation, that work hard on environmental issues on our behalf.  Your financial support will ensure they keep going for the benefit of us all. Find out more by visiting www.davidsuzuki.org and clicking on “Donate Now!”
Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo December 12, 2007
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