Dr. Martin Luther King at a press conference.

Dr. Martin Luther King at a press conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Martin Luther King‘s “I Have A Dream Speech” is a timeless work that is relevant today, particularly to the movement for sustainability.  This famous address delivered at the March on Washington 50 years ago focused on the plight of Blacks in America and the racial injustices of that era, and Dr. King’s words and leadership served as a lightning rod for social and political upheaval in America.  Since that famous speech, Americans, specifically Blacks, have witnessed major changes in their lives, gaining greater access to jobs, better housing and equal education.  However, there still is a lot of work to be done.

As we fast forward to 2013, we see that Dr. King’s speech is still relevant today in terms of the fight for sustainability, not only in the United States, but also globally.  My personal recognition of this fact comes as a result of taking an online class at Stanford University on the “Introduction To Sustainable Product Development and Manufacturing”.  This class includes lectures, videos and interactive group projects with fellow students globally, along with peer review.

The course begins with a video on the “Story Of Stuff,” an eye-opening explanation on the textbook theory of “materials economy” — the movement of “things” from extraction to production, distribution, consumption and finally depletion.  The author, Annie Leonard, explains how this linear theory is flawed because in its application to a finite world, it fails to address the impact of outside forces on production of goods, i.e., the environment, societies, cultures and economies.  This theory also does not account for the influence of corporations on our lives and the policies and programs adopted, which are undertaken solely for the purpose of improving the bottom line.  The rise of mega corporations that lobby to reduce government oversight and then exploit natural and human resources, creating inferior products with reduced shelf life to encourage heightened consumerism has resulted in a global crisis.  The natural resources of the earth are being depleted at an alarming rate, and humans are being misguided, overworked and exploited.  This is not sustainable.

We now witness the redefinition of the term “value” being reduced to “ownership of stuff”.  It then follows that certain segments of the world population, specifically, the economically disadvantaged (generally minorities and emerging nations), are assigned a lesser value in society.  The desire to “raise one’s value,” albeit based on erroneous definition of the term, leads to exasperating attempts to “keep up with the Joneses”.  So many people are mentally and physically exhausted and distressed, it is no wonder that the American Psychiatric Society had to revise the DSM codes.  While the movement for sustainability largely focuses on water and energy conservation, protection of natural resources and upgrades to infrastructure, the dialogue must also include human rights and justice.  Products and services must be priced fairly to include a living wage for laborers.  Also, access to health care and health insurance must be recognized as a part of the human rights that D. King spoke about.  The honesty and character of a person must trump “ownership of stuff”.

Fifty years ago, Dr. King voiced our “need for liberation“.  We still need liberation, principally from the confines of materialism and unhealthy lifestyles.  He also said, “[w]e must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline . . . we cannot walk alone”.  This call for self-service and determination rings true today.  Each one of us can start with small steady steps to endorse sustainable living.  We can get off the endless cycle of wasting money on inferior products and services.  We can support businesses that employ green practices and that invest in its employees.  We can take responsibility for the space we occupy on this earth.  The first step to achieve sustainability is to believe in it.  This belief begins with a dream of the possibilities, and the grassroots commitment of each of us will lead to a revolution.

I invite you to watch the video of the “Story of Stuff” and to commit to carry on the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King.  To do so is to live green, be green.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM

If you are ever in San Francisco, be sure to visit the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. This beautiful place has been around for over 100 years and thanks to First Lady Hilary Clinton, in 1998, The Conservatory was placed on the 100 most endangered world monuments. It currently exists as the oldest public glass and wood greenhouse in the United States!

20130827-162527.jpg

20130827-163351.jpg

English: Honey bees cleaning the last of the h...

English: Honey bees cleaning the last of the honey off of a comb which has been processed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Initially, I was excited to see Time Magazine‘s August 19th issue featuring bees and the problem of colony collapse disorder, “The Plight Of The Honeybee;” [1] however, my enthusiasm quickly dissipated when I discovered that the article fails by not addressing the impact of factory farming as a major contributor to the demise of bees.

The steady disappearance of bees is a frequent topic of concern for conservationists, beekeepers and farmers, as well as green bloggers.  Our blog, Live Green Be Green, follows the subject of pollinators on a frequent basis, commenting on bees, in particular, noting that they play an important role in the maintenance of the food supply as we know it.  While it may be true (as stated in Time’s article) that the demise of bees would not destroy the food supply totally, it is important to note that this phenomenon would change the landscape of the food supply, resulting in the loss of many fruits and vegetables that we enjoy eating. [2]

Much of the attention on the causes of colony collapse disorder in this article is attributed to pesticides, viruses and fungal infections, with only casual references made to factory farming of bees.  Additionally, the comments made deal with factory farming in general, citing the increase in widespread industrialized agricultural systems that have adopted crop monocultures, which effectively “create a desert for bees,” starving them of the nectar and pollen they need to survive. [3]  Also, mention is made of a possible future with the industrialization of beekeeping culminating in fewer entities running larger operations or even the use of robotic bees to pollinate crops.  Clearly, this article ignores the problem of factory farming of bees.  Under this scenario, bees are transported from the natural locales and maintained in smaller boxes, which resemble tenements or file cabinets.  These actions subject the creatures to unnatural living conditions.  Also, the bees are forced to undergo other harmful practices, such as wing clipping of new queen bees to prevent the natural migration of these bees and their soldiers to form their own colonies, thereby reducing the honey production in the prior colony.These practices typically result in genetic manipulation of the bees and in their premature death. [4]

To learn more about the true plight of bees, we here at LGBG by PMD United encourage you to see “No More Honey,” a film documentary that  raises awareness of the practice of factory farming of bees. [5]  We remain dedicated to learning and sharing information that promotes a healthy environment for ourselves and future generations.  We feel it is mandatory that when sharing  information, we should seek the complete story.  In terms of our food supply, we feel that while it may be possible to “exist” without many of the plant species that we have come to love, it is important that we abandon harmful practices that deliberately destroy these products.  We feel that bees make our world a better place.  To protect them is to live green, be green.

________________________

[1]  Walsh, Brian “The Plight Of The Honeybee.”  Time 19 Ap. 2013: 24-31. Print.
[2]  “Honeybee Shortage– An Impending Economic Disaster.”  http://livegreenbegreen.com/2013/05/07/honeybee-shortage-an-impending-economic-disaster 7 May, 2013.
[3]  Walsh, p. 30.
[4]  http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/07/13/that-s-no-storm-its-a-swarm.aspx
[5]  http://livegreenbegreen.com/2013/08/08/colony-collapse-documentary-addresses-global-destruction-of-bee-population/

As you probably noticed, we had fewer submissions during the summer.  Some of us were traveling.  Others took on special projects, and some just took much-needed vacations.   We are now back to work, researching and commenting on green initiatives, political and social issues, etc.  We hope you had a safe, healthy and green summer.  Thank you for your continued support and input.

LGBG

business-sign-open31

In response to the continuing decline in the bee population globally, an interesting and timely film documentary by Markus Inhoof brings attention to the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder— the name given to this occurrence.  This film notes that 80% of plant species require bee pollination to survive, and without the necessary pollination, “most fruit and vegetables could disappear from the face of the earth”.  Additionally, the honeybee is “as indispensable to the economy as it is to man’s survival”. 

In this film, Inhoof takes a close look at honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia.  He examines several agents responsible for “weakening of the bees’ immune defense“, including pesticides and medicine used to combat them, parasites (notably Varro mites), new viruses, traveling stress and the “multiplication of electromagnetic waves disturbing nano particles found in bees’ abdomen.

A particularly interesting finding shown to negatively impact the lives of bees is “factory farming“.  Beekeeping for the production of honey, beeswax, royal jelly and other products has become very popular in the past few years.  Bee farmers rely on factory-farmed honeybees, resulting in an annual production of 176 million pounds of honey with a value greater than $250 million.  To accomplish this goal, honeybees are manipulated with exploitation of their “desire to live and protect their hives”.  They are subjected to unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation and stressful transportation“.  The white boxes traditionally used for beehives since the 1850s have been “moved from shapes that accommodated their own geometry to flat-topped tenements, thereby sentencing the bees to life in file cabinets.  Additionally, beekeepers also clip the wings of new queens to prevent the natural division of hives upon the birth of a new queen that would result in a decline in the honey production.

All of these factors stress the bee population and could serve as a threat to mankind’s very existence because of the need for these very important pollinators to remain in existence.   

To date, the documentary, More Than Honey, has received good reviews, particularly in regards to its beautiful nature photography.  This is just one story about human invasive practices that threaten our food supply, and it is a very important one that cautions us to remain ever mindful of our need to ensure that we protect our environment and our food supply.  To do so is to live green, be green.

_____________________

honey bee, pollinating

honey bee, pollinating (Photo credit: turnbud)

Source for this article:

http://www.newssum.com/more-than-honey-a-bee-movie-the-not-so-talked-about-factory-farming-of-bees-25

Over the past 15 years, the rapid decline of bee colonies globally has been attributed to chemical exposure; however, the film documentary,