Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bee Native - organization that is leading the way

This caught my eye in a Twitter post because it seemed so random. Bees? Really?

With all that is going on in the world, why is there a Native American organization focused on bee survival?

But reading the information is a little eye-opening - not to mention humbling. I remember hearing, several times in quick news clips, about disappearances of large populations of the world's bees. Yet, what does that have to do with me? In just about any Alaska Native - or Native American, for that matter - set of values, you will find that care for the earth, natural resources, respect for all creatures, etc. is an integral part of a cultural tradition. Long have we decried the limits and restrictions on our land and the surrounding environment.

But we are also a modern people, and personal respect for and care of the land should not be relegated to something we "used" to do. I absolutely believe a major value we can offer the world is the respect for land. Not the sort of voodoo mystic stuff portrayed on early westerns, but the personal connection to land that I fear we may be losing in the next generation. We have to start "updating" the practice of those values to reflect what is going on in the world. We must not only advocate on behalf of our land regarding the impact of waste, global warming, greenhouse gases and the like to the world at large - we must recognize that the daily things in our lives are effecting this as well.

I'm no patron saint of environmental responsibility - not by a long, long shot. But I have to give much respect to those that are walking the walk - and this "Bee Native" organization is exactly that. From their site:

Survival of the bees is as essential to our food production and natural environment as the soil the crops grow from. One third of our food requires pollination by insects...

As the population of bees and their health decline Bee Native is investing in careful examination, research & organic management to eliminate harmful substances from their environment... In the hands of the American Indian Tribal communities the bees will continue to educate and draw us further towards understanding their needs and our connection to the lands in which we live.

Bee Native advocates both simple, everyday solutions as well as big picture ideas regarding a "natural resource" we really can't afford to lose. It is hard for some to see why an endangered bear or whale is important to the ecosystem, but can't we all agree bees are pretty integral to... well, life as we know it?

Check out the site for some of their suggestions what to do, including donation, but here's two of their fairly simple action steps:

  • Stop using pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Encourage others to look for alternatives to the poisons we use in our yards and fields.

  • Support organic growers. Their hard work is part act of faith, part luck and enormous commitment to bring us safe and tasty produce.

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