Bees are really important to the ecology of the planet and we rely on them. A lot of food crops would not be sustainable where it not for the bees. Likewise for native plants that feed the wildlife fauna around us. It is a documented fact that bee populations are declining. This can be arrested when everyone has plants that attract bees. Windowsills, yards and watershed drainage swales and woodland and forest edges must be natural habitat for wildlife including bees. Plants that feed bees will attract other animals and their return will be fundamental to re-balancing our relationship to nature.
While we’re at it we can help resolve the issue with deer eating ornamental plants. Much of our urban woodland is neglected. Understory plants the deer prefer to eat are insufficient to feed them. The solution is to restore woodland understory with native plants that the animals like to eat. Natural native food for animals like deer and birds and small mammals, and the microbes, will aid our return to nature.
And while we’re restoring our relationship to the animals, let’s work at managing our storm water better. Rain barrels should be everywhere that they make sense. Downspout redirect into plant beds needs to be standard practice. All downspouts that feed directly into the storm water system should be disallowed. Roof run off must be slowed and absorbed not flowed and abhorred.
And while we’re harvesting our water and feeding the animals let’s think about using less poison. All poisons kill or maim numerous other ‘non target’ species. Poison disrupts the ecology. The use of poisons is something we must all think about and after thinking about it let’s stop using it.
And while we’re controlling run-off, minimizing pollution from poisons, feeding the animals, and restoring the natural flora, let’s use less fossil fuel managing our yards and gardens. Gasoline powered lawn and garden tools are the most inefficient and pollution spewing internal combustion engines around. And the noise disrupts the natural rhythm of the earth. HOA’s and homeowners should restrict mowing to no more than 1 time per month and preferably less. Hand and electric tools should be specified and required.
All these easy actions, that bring us back into balance with nature, are simple, low cost, convenient and effective. So why aren’t most of us doing any or all of these things? Leadership is what gets us to do what needs to be done by clearly defining what it is we need to do, and why, and making it easy for us to do it. When our leaders lead, we will feed bees and wild animals and manage our water run off, and stop poisoning ourselves as we use less fossil fuel. When we all do these things together we will be nicer to the planet, and all the creatures and plants that we share it with, and we will be nicer to one another. And that’s all good!
Wm. Mitchell is a frequent contributor on Environmental policy issues.