English: Placing honeybees for pumpkin pollina...

English: Placing honeybees for pumpkin pollination, Mohawk Valley, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The steadily increasing disappearance of honeybees since 2006 has farmers, beekeepers, scientists and government officials all abuzz, largely because of the impending economic disaster that would occur without bee pollination.  This really is a major problem because “one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honeybees.  The agricultural industry attributes more than $20 billion of its worth to pollination.[1]

Currently, the USDA, scientists, beekeepers and growers are working frantically to identify the cause of death of bees or “colony collapse disorder” (CCD).  It appears that there are several factors contributing to this problem, including the parasitic Varroa mite and pesticides.  Researchers are very familiar with the Varroa mites, noting that they attach themselves to bees and feed off of their fluids, thereby weakening them.  A potential solution posed for the mite problem is to breed bees that can withstand these mites.  Recent research also has pointed to the adverse effects of neonicotinoids, a pesticide that has few adverse effects on mammals, but are shown to damage the brains of bees.  Additional causes of CCD listed by the EPA and the USDA include “poor nutrition, reduced genetic diversity, the Nosema gut parasite, emerging viruses and a bacterial disease called European foulbrood“.[1]

It is interesting to examine the potential impact of the loss of honeybee pollination on our food supply.  It it important to note the special and unique role of some pollinators in seed production, but not in the growth of the germinated seeds.  The loss of these pollinators would trigger the disappearance of these seed, the very origin of these plant species.  Some examples include carrots,onions, celery, mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, turnips, caraway, coriander, buckwheat, fennel, alfalfa, sesame and several variety of beans.  Many of the fruits and vegetables that we eat require honeybee pollination and would be adversely affected by the loss of pollinators, resulting in increase cost due to shortages or even total lack of available crops.  Imagine no strawberries, peppers (several varieties), apples, kiwifruit, watermelon, cantaloupes or squash, just to name a few. [2]

Now that we recognize the need to reduce our consumption of red meat and to increase the use of fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets for purposes of healthier lifestyles and environmental protection, it is a matter or urgency to address this threat to our food supply.  We all can do something to help.  For starters, we have to educate ourselves on the process of pollination.  An excellent resource on this subject is the Pollinator Partnership at www.pollinator.org/html.  This site has wonderful suggestions on planting fruits, vegetables and flowering plants that attract pollinators.  Also, you can find information to get involved in the celebration of Pollinator Week 2013 coming up in June. [3] Secondly, keep in mind will not try to sell products that we refuse to buy.  To that end, please make every effort to buy local and organic.  These fruits and vegetables do not contain harmful pesticides that harm the soil, the air, water or pollinators, such as honeybees.

The pollination problem is a complex one that has several causes and will take time to solve.  The relationship of honeybees to the earth is simple:  Bees equal food.  With that said, we have a duty to protect the honeybees.  Our lives depend on it.  To do so is to live green, be green.


Sources for this article:

[1]  http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/02/18021285-pesticides-arent-the-biggest-factor-in-honeybee-die-off-epa-and-usda-say?lite
[2]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crop_plants_pollinated_by_bees.
[3]  http://www.pollinator.org/

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Benjamin Franklin 1767 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In recognition of the 223rd anniversary of Ben Franklin’s death, we here at LGBG feel that it is important to remember and salute this visionary and his accomplishments, particularly those relative to the green movement.


Ben Franklin was born on January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts and died on April 17, 1790 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Franklin was a printer by trade and a scientist, a librarian, inventor and statesman.  He was internationally renown for his work to harness electricity with the invention of the lightning rod.  His values were consistent with the green movement in that he espoused thrift, hard work and education.


In addition to inventions of the Franklin stove, bifocal glasses and a flexible urinary catheter, Ben Franklin also was a social innovator.  He is credited with the “pay it forward policy whereby an individual in receipt of a good deed repays the assistance by doing something good for someone other than his/her benefactor.  This practice has evolved into an international movement of random acts of kindness.


Ben Franklin was a man ahead of his time and a proponent of green living and sustainability, as evidenced by his influence on the then emerging science of population study and demographics.  He was an astute observer of population growth trends, both in the United States, as well as in Europe.  He acknowledged the importance of maintaining an adequate food supply to accommodate the fast-growing U.S. population.  Out of concern for economic development and the reliance on the shipping industry for transportation of goods and people, Franklin studied the currents in the Atlantic Ocean, and gulf stream charts and made recommendations on navigation currents so as to control sailing time to various destinations.  He is best known, perhaps, for his work with electricity, and he also delved into research on refrigeration and evaporation.


At an early age, Ben Franklin adopted a set of virtues which he used to guide his life.  Several of these virtues are consistent with the tenets of the green movement and sustainable living.


1.  “Temperance.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
2.  “Order.  Let all your things have places.”
3.  “Resolution.  Resolve to perform what you ought.”
4.  “Frugality.  Waste nothing.”
5.  “Moderation.  Avoid extremes.”
6.  “Cleanliness.  Tolerate no uncleanliness.”
7.  “Humility.”


Benjamin Franklin was a visionary, who fully appreciated the gift of this earth and lived his entire life dedicated to healthy living, industry and the protection and progression of mankind.  His accomplishments cannot be understated, and our current Earth Day celebration would be lacking without the observance of this great man.  He was a true  example of what it means to live green, be green.




Sources for this article:
1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin.
2.  http://www.ealmanac.com/2974/numbers/the-thirteen-virtues-of-benjamin-franklin/.


Seal of the United States Department of Agricu...

Seal of the United States Department of Agriculture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a media frenzy with repeated disclosures on the commingling of horsemeat with beef in frozen food products distributed in Europe and possibly here in the United States; (3) however, the real discussions on the problems of horsemeat production with the details of trickery, cruelty and greed—  have been noticeably absent.  We have been given the names of some of the perpetrators in these violations of public trust, namely Nestle, Sodexho, Ikea, Burger King and Tesco, but there are many more out there yet to be identified.  It is important to note that to date, U.S. officials state that they doubt that horsemeat has been sold in any beef products in the United States. 

Aside from the deception by not revealing the contents of these food products, the more heinous act here is the introduction of a product into the food system that is not intended to be consumed by humans and, in fact, is deemed unsafe for human consumption.  Horses, after all, are “raised to be companions, competitors or work partners.” (1)  They routinely are administered medications that are toxic to people, including wormers, fly treatments and pain-killers.  All of these products contain chemicals that are prohibited for food ingestion by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA).  Additionally, many of the drugs routinely given to humans have never been tested.  It appears that this problem of commingling horsemeat with beef is not merely a sleight of hand and harmless trickery of consumers.  Rather, it is a criminal violation to knowingly taint the food supply, and it is done simply for the purpose of financial gain, constituting pure greed with no regard for the health and safety of the consumer.  Simply stated, in the United States, commercially marketed meat is monitored and inspected by the federal government (USDA) and horsemeat is not approved for human consumption.

Another issue here is that of horse slaughterEd Sayres, President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes that there is little demand for horse slaughter in the United States, and horses are trucked to Canada and Mexico for such purposes.  He states, “These trips involve slipping, trampling injuries and death for many horses.  Those who survive then must suffer at the hands of the butcher.”  In other words, this is a very cruel industry.  Inasmuch as many of the horses that go to slaughter are not “aging, unwanted or sickly”, this abhorrent industry is simply making money while ignoring the suffering it causes to the horses and now it presents a threat to the health of humans.

It has been disclosed that the USDA intends to move forward to process pending applications on file for horse slaughter operations in the United States.  We here at LGBG say that this is not who we are as Americans.  We totally oppose this effort and support the ASPCA in its fight to spread the word about this effort which is gaining momentum and which must be stopped.  All eyes should be on Roswell, New Mexico, which is expected to be “ground zero” for this industry.  We urge all of our readers and supporters to unite to fight to ban the horse slaughter industry in America.  Also, please be particularly mindful of the meat products you buy and do not give your money to companies which participate in this practice.  Let’s advocate for a ban on horse slaughter.  To do this is to live green, be green.

Sources for this Article:

1.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-sayres/moving-in-wrong-direction_b_2790418.html
2.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-01/usda-says-horse-slaughter-plants-may-open-after-ban-lifted-1-.html
3. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/business/horse-meat-passes-through-texas-advocacy-groups-say.html?_r=0

A recent New York Times article notes that farming, the second oldest profession in the world, is making a comeback.   Many liberal arts college graduates seem to be avoiding the extreme and intense competition for entry level office jobs with its accompanying drudgery and taking up organic farming.  The consideration of farming as an occupation after college for today’s graduates is logical because this generation generally is more eco-conscious.  During their college years, many of these students were active in campaigns concerned with climate change, as well as the quality of food served on campuses.  As a result, sustainable farming is in vogue.

An interesting article by activist, Ellen Freudenheim (Sustainable Farming, Organic Food:  8 Lessons for America from Anatolia, Turkey) is a great starting place to get involved in sustainable farming.  This article presents eight valuable tips that the author learned about organic farming while visiting Turkey “where such ideas as ‘small farm,’ ‘organic,’ and ‘locally grown’ are so old hat that they predate the fez.”  These lessons are as follows:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Keep it simple.
  • A college education isn’t enough.
  • If you want to eat what you sow, think systems.
  • Sustainable gardening takes multiple hands.
  • Plan a winter vacation in Florida to recover from making hay while the sun shines.
  • Don’t underestimate how much skill and knowledge are needed.
  • God’s gifts—faith and optimism are important ingredients in a lifestyle in which food for sustenance depends on the sun, rain and natural elements beyond one’s control.

In conclusion, Ms Freudenheim offers a recipe for change that combines traditional farming techniques with modern technology, guided by savvy college students committed to address the current problems of quality of food supply and the obesity epidemic.  Hopefully, this sustainable farm movement will grow and appeal to the public at large so that we all can live green, be green.