Tag Archives: bees

Your own backyard is a great place to help butterflies and bees

Butterflies in field
Sourece: Judy Kesser via Monarch Joint Venture
Naturalist Don Torino suggests using your own backyard to help the butterflies and bees survive and thrive:

…There is still much more for us to do, especially in our own backyards.

This spring dig under some of that useless lawn, remove some non-natives and put aside some room in your flower beds for some milkweed and native wildflower nectar sources. Many local garden centers now carry multiple species of milkweed which will work in the backyard. Some better garden centers are now even setting aside spaces for native wildflowers like Milkweeds Goldenrod, Joe-pye weed and NY Ironweed to name a few.

Unlike many environmental issues which at times can seem overwhelming, this is an issue we can do something about. We don’t need to write to our Congressman or the Governor and hope that something gets done. Just plant some milkweed and other native wildflowers that provide nectar and you’ve just made our environment a better place.

Together we can turn our local communities into environments that are welcoming to the Monarch butterfly and that will give a fighting chance to a creature that can sure use our help.

If you have any questions on milkweed or other native plants feel free to contact me at Greatauk4@gmail.com

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Pres. Obama is making a flower highway for butterflies (really)

tagged monarch
Source: Anna Barnett on flickr
I know this headline sounds more like the title of a fantasy novel than a project the federal United States government is implementing. But it’s real – a real 1500 mile project that will connect Minnesota with Texas with habitat areas for Monarch butterflies all the way down the middle of our country. That’s the path these butterflies take on their way to winter in fir forests outside of Mexico City, Mexico. It will run north-south along Route I-35, pretty much the entire vertical length of the United States.

butterfly highway
Source: mexiconewsdaily.com

The Christian Science Monitor explains the plan:

The Xerces Society has already been working with the Federal Highway Administration to develop best practices for roadside management, including incorporation of flowering plants and milkweed and adapting mowing schedules to migration patterns… but the president’s plan is much broader than that.

“The idea is to use it as this iconic pathway to work with schools, farmers, ranchers, and park districts to improve habitats for 50 to 100 miles on either side of the I-35 corridor,” Dr. Black says.

North Carolina has a Butterfly Highway of its own. And, there are other Monarch protection projects coming to life in different parts of the United States – check out Monarch Joint Venture for details.

In May 2015 the Washington Post reported on Obama’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.

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Plant These for Bees

By Claire Jones
By Claire Jones

Look at the beautiful graphics Claire Jones and Hannah Rosengren created to show us the wide range of plants that bees like. Makes them easy to remember … now get into your garden and plant some!

plant these to save the bees
By Hannah Rosengren 2013
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ECJ Green Drinks Paterson Area & Brunch for Bees Event

Bernie Sanders meets Green DrinksAugust Environment & Climate Justice Green Drinks Paterson Area
27 August 2015 at 12 noon
Sultan Restaurant
429 Crooks Ave, Paterson, New Jersey 07011

Everyone is welcome 🙂 and there’s never a meeting charge.
Mayor información – More information:
ejgreendrinks.org | 201-477-8711

ABOUT GREEN DRINKS
Green Drinks are gatherings where we discuss Environmental Justice, climate change and sustainable living issues in English and Spanish!

A lot of knowledge is shared around the table each month along with tasty food and good conversation. Come spend a couple interesting hours with the friendliest bunch of EJ nuts you’ll ever meet.

Please support our host venue by eating or drinking something while we chat.

Bee flyingAUGUST DISCUSSION AGENDA

  1. Brunch for the Bees – what are we eating and drinking that bees pollinate? What foods and drink don’t need pollinators?
  2. Delta incinerator company is trying to locate facility in Paterson. It needs to be stopped.
  3. The Wei Family is setting up a community garden. How can you help?
  4. Buying a home or property in Paterson as a community collective initiative to Occupy the City
  5. Pres. Obama’s Clean Power Plan

ORGANIZERS
Kimi Wei, Ivan Gomez Wei, Ariel Lopez Wei, Joseph Dunsay and Sally Gellert

JOIN GD MAILING LIST

SEPT 2015 NJECJ GREEN DRINKS SCHEDULE
Newark cancelled this month due to Labor Day
Hackensack WED 16 SEPT 7-9 PM
Paterson date TBA
(more at http://ejgreendrinks.org/)

ECJ Green Drinks Paterson Area & Brunch for Bees Event – August 2015

Green Drinks 150729

ej green drinks with words, smallABOUT GREEN DRINKS
Green Drinks are gatherings where we discuss Environmental Justice, climate change and sustainable living issues in English and Spanish! A lot of knowledge is shared around the table each month along with tasty food and good conversation. Come spend a couple interesting hours with the friendliest bunch of EJ nuts you’ll ever meet. All are welcome.

Please support our host venue by eating or drinking something while we chat.

AUGUST DISCUSSION AGENDA

  1. Brunch for the Bees – what are we eating and drinking that bees pollinate? And what foods and drink don’t need them?
  2. A company is trying to locate a waste and sewage sludge in Paterson. It needs to be stopped.
  3. The Wei Family is starting up a community garden in Paterson. How can you help?
  4. A collective is forming to buy a Paterson home or property as a community based initiative to Occupy the City.
  5. Pres. Obama’s Clean Power Plan

TO JOIN GREEN EVENTS MAILING LIST visit http://j.mp/joingd

SEPT 2015 NJECJ GREEN DRINKS SCHEDULE
(More info at http://ejgreendrinks.org)
Newark cancelled due to Labor Day 7-9 PM
Hackensack this month on WED 16 SEPT 7-9 PM
Paterson DATE TBA (Check this page)

ORGANIZERS
Kimi Wei, Ivan Gomez Wei, Ari Lopez Wei, Joseph Dunsay and Sally Gellert

Green Drinks NJ Environment & Climate Justice Discussions
Mayor información en español e inglés en http://ejgreendrinks.org
Questions | Preguntas – Kimi 862-203-8814

Help for pollinators – from the simple to the sublime

pollinator friendly actionsNational Pollinator Week (June 15-21) just ended but nobody’s going to mind if you keep supporting beautiful bees and butterflies all year round. Your kids will actually thank you one day.

For inspiration, check out the probono project With Honey In My Heart is leading to transform a paved San Francisco street into a pollinator sanctuary but remember – the power to save our pollinators lies within easy reach of most of us.

Pollinator Blvd

GMO apples will begin the end of real food. Tell Feds NO.

wicked witch says trust me GMO apple is safeSubmit your comment to the US federal government saying why you stand against the approval of GMO apples. The time to act is now! Here’s some scientific background on GMO apples are so bad, even McDonalds and Gerber doesn’t want them. After you post your comment, please share it with us. Here’s mine:

Private companies cannot be allowed to put in claims to own nature or our food supply. It’s time to radically head off manufacturers of GMOs from attempts to take over society by stopping them from selling their products, ever. The US government must act immediately to make the GMO process and the sale of GMO seeds, illegal.

GMO products and patented seeds, are responsible for the killing of bees, natural ecosystems, and ring the death knoll for small farms around the world.

Our food system relies on bees for pollination. Ecosystems rely on a diversity of plant and animal life to thrive, much in the same way that human bodies do. Small farms are being seized and eradicated by GMO distributors through a variety of nefarious and underhanded moves.

GMO producers are dishonest and extremely dangerous.

You cannot allow them to continue harming the earth, our food supply and the people of the United States. GMO incursion is bad for people and the natural world that God created, which it is the fundamental and inalienable right of US citizens and all people, to enjoy.

The myth is being sold by self-serving producers of mono-culture crops that our societies will be better, or safer, if we allow them to take over the growing process, beginning with seed alteration and patenting, but this is the reverse of true. Mono-cultures are exactly the opposite of good, and the results GMO companies bring into the world are disastrous over both the long and short terms.

The approval of GMO apple seeds will open the door to other varieties of patented seeds being brought into the food supply chain. In the short run, family farmers and small farms will be ruined. In the long term, GMO producers want to make sure that only their eco-system destroying apples can be planted and sold. They want to make natural seeds illegal and own the growing process from start to finish.

GMO crops which contain pesticides also produce pesticides resistant super-insects that cannot be controlled by normal strength pesticides. The GMO crops are directly responsible for the super-insects wiping out natural crops (grown by family/small farmers) in regions where the GMO crops that create them are grown. We can only imagine how bad the pesticide-based crops will reveal themselves to be for human health.

GMO companies seek to replace good, healthy food grown by loving hands which shares a beneficial, symbiotic exchange with nature … with chemically altered food that destroys nature, ecosystems, the natural pollination process (and bees), health, family farms and world society as we know it.

They cannot be allowed to continue to operate in society. There must be NO place for them at all. Please, cast a vote for the wellbeing of United States residents and the world at large, by banning GMO seeds from entering the world.

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Lawns and unsustainable urban buildout are destroying water, bees and us

Two important community issues involving water are the environmental dangers of lawns and the importance of storm drain stewardship.

Storm Drain Stewardship

Jersey City drains to your river
Jersey City storm drain marker drains to your river
Because storm drains in most communities carry stormwater out to natural bodies of water, it’s important to keep as much pollution as possible from entering them. Storm drain marker programs have been established in New Jersey and across the country to help make local residents aware of the environmental value of protecting storm drains and the waterways they are linked with.

What flows into storm drains doesn’t come only from roadway surfaces, though. Water runoff from buildings, walk and driveways and lawns washes into storm drains and watershed areas too and from them – right out into our rivers, streams lakes, estuaries and eventually, our oceans. The Milwaukee Riverkeeper defines watershed as, “…simply the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater.”

Lawn pesticides and fertilizers: A great health hazard

pesticide free zone ladybug signThe enormous quantity of pesticides and over-application of fertilizers on lawns makes them one of the great waterway – and therefor personal – health issues of our time. The Bayshore Regional Watershed Council has a 2007 newspaper article posted on its site cautioning about the health hazards of perfect lawns.

The shimmering green of the finely groomed Long Island lawn may trigger an owner’s pride and neighborhood envy, but it also could pose a serious health risk … Karen Joy Miller, founder of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, said pesticides are particularly dangerous for small children who are low to the ground, often barefoot and likely to put things in their mouths. Miller, a breast cancer survivor, said she suspects her sickness was caused in part by exposure to pesticides.

Natural lawn walk
Natural lawn walk
Beyond Pesticides, an environmental education group, tells us about the hazards of pesticides in landscapes and lawns.

Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system … A 2004 national survey reveals that 5 million homeowners use only organic lawn practices and products and 35 million people use both toxic and non-toxic materials.

Beyond Pesticides offers a toolkit for organizing your community against pesticides and tips for beginning to eliminate pesticides locally and offers this advice:

A growing body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels. Young children are particularly susceptible because of their rapid growth and decreased ability to detoxify toxins. Fortunately, there are proven safe, effective, and affordable ways to maintain attractive lawns and playable fields without the use of toxic pesticides.

The EPA also offers pesticide reduction tips. Their tips include recommendations to compost and use native plants.
bee pollinating flower

Food supply is being threatened by bee death due to pesticides

Pesticides are dangerous for a number of environmental and health reasons which include the death of bees which society needs to pollinate and grow fruits and vegetables. For the first time this year in California, there were not enough bees on site to pollinate the entire crop of almonds. Weakened immune systems and outright death of bees is being attributed to overuse of pesticides and the reduction of open growth areas in favor of manicured lawns and unsustainably planned cities.

Fertilizers: another big health hazard and their partial ban in New Jersey

Rutgers fertilizer restriction FAQWaterway health depends on the conservation of a delicately balanced ecosystem that must support aquatic plants, fish, seafood and insects as well as the watershed and beach areas surrounding them and the birds and wildlife they support. Over-fertilization of lawns with nitrogen and phosphorous has led to the destruction of waterway health around the country and in New Jersey, some of the nation’s toughest lawn fertilizer laws have been enacted. Rutgers University summarizes the laws in this FAQ. An nj.com article summarizes the reasons behind the laws.

Nitrogen and phosphorus, while important for plant growth, are harmful to the environment if they wind up in the water. Nitrogen is a greater threat to coastal water, while phosphorous is more harmful in fresh water. Nitrogen causes algae blooms that deprive water of oxygen and kill marine life, and in New Jersey, environmentalists and scientists said that nitrogen was the primary reason for the slow death of salt water bodies, especially the Barnegat Bay.

Fertilizers in New Jersey may no longer contain phosphorus, except in special circumstances when a soil test indicates need, or when establishing or re-establishing turf …

Transgenic foods, GMOs and clear labelling

I don’t know a whole lot of transgenic foods, but I think there’s something wrong, anyway, in adding salmon fish genes to say, whatever plant my tortilla chips are produced from in order to make those plants not as susceptible to some disease or pest, or more likely to grow in a certain way or at a certain rate of speed. I don’t want to argue with people who say, “You can’t impede commerce and every part of the world has to be somebody’s commercial oyster.” Those people are wrong, but I don’t care to argue with them.

However, I do think that we, the people, should know when weird stuff is implanted in the foods we consume thinking we’re eating something we’re familiar with and that’s naturally derived. I am so not alone in my thinking. By the way, transgenic and GMO are terms for the same practice – modifying the genes of one form of life with a gene from a different life form. U-T San Diego reports,

In a nationwide telephone poll conducted in October 2010 by Thomson Reuters and National Public Radio, 93 percent said if a food has been genetically engineered or has genetically engineered ingredients, it should say so on its label — a number that has been consistent since genetically modified crops were introduced. FDA guidelines say that food that contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, does not have to say so and can still be labeled “all natural.”

In California, voters in November will decide on a ballot initiative requiring the labeling of such foods.

In October, an online campaign called Just Label It began collecting signatures and comments on a petition to the FDA, requesting rules similar to those in the European Union, Japan, China, India and Australia, stating what transgenic food is in the package.

and Natural Society’s Feb 1 2012 article shows Vermont is taking the GMO labeling issue seriously as well.

Vermont has taken the initiative against Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations in launching new legislation that would require the labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients. The bill, known as the ‘VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act’, was introduced to the Vermont House of Representatives by Representative Kate Webb of Shelburne on February 1st, 2012. The bill would require the labeling of not only products filled entirely with GMOs, but also for those partially created using GM ingredients.

My friend Lenny Thomas attributes the death of honey bees to genetically modified crops. What do you think, New Jersey, should we get a movement like this started in our state?