The Most Beeautiful Creatures

I first heard of colony collapse disorder when I was in middle school, and I’m glad that I wasn’t the only who’s aware of this issue.  However, I was also frustrated that being simply aware of the problem wasn’t good enough, people don’t exactly know what they can do to help. The Vanishing  of the bees has giving us a few suggestions for the publics to take part in helping the bees.

It was eye opening to know that the problem of bees is also the problem of the monoculture. Nature doesn’t put all eggs in one basket, monoculture destroys the soils, the diversity of species and their habitats, it requires huge amount of chemicals,which makes the products from monoculture are enormously unsustainable. In one word, it is simply not a healthy system. The disappearance of the bees not only pointed out the problem of the abuse of bees but also unveiled this unhealthy system as a whole, the system that we humans had created for growing our food, and the way we force the nature to fit into our habits. Like i said before, humans are the only species that refuse to adopt.

“Bees are indicators of environmental quality. When the bees are dying, something is wrong, and that’s going to affect all of us. ”

-The Vanishing of the Bees

The bee society is one of the most complex and beautifully self-organized civilization on earth, and I think one of the things that makes them so amazing is that they are matriarchal. According to some most ancient mythologies from all around the world, we can found similar beliefs on the idea of female represents creativity and birth, while male symbolizes destructions and war, and as I looked at the benefit of honey to the whole ecosystem, ironic enough, this might be true. There’s a reason why we named our earth “mother nature”. Which brings up another very interesting subject, the rising of the African Killer Bees, it is exactly the natural selection happening in front of our eyes, some said  it’s the defense system of bees against the destruction of humans, some said it is a way for nature to balance itself. I think, perhaps when the nature starts learning from human, we should as well participate into this collective wisdom by beeing part of it. Planting wild followers, supporting local honeys and organic farming, etc.

 

Also, please take a few minutes to watch this very educational and funny video about bees:

 

Bees: MIA

As someone who’s enjoyed the sight of bees flying around her home since childhood, the film The Vanishing of the Bees was a real face-slapper. I had heard about the whole issue of bees disappearing on the news and on various internet sources, but I had no idea it was so bad, and large, that the US actually to to ship bees from Australia over to here to help pollinate some major crops! That’s ridiculous if you think about it enough. Flying bees all over the world because they keep going missing.

The film gives a lot of really good viewpoints on the dilemma and its just devastating in many scenes to see how the bees disappearing is affecting beekeepers and their work. They appear to be really passionate and hard working people and it’s really great to see how much they care about the bees they have and the environment.

Although the exact cause of Colony Collapse Disorder(CCD) is still not known, enough evidence has been shown that one of the culprits which is affecting the bee populations is the commercial used pesticides that many farms use to put on their crops to help keep pest species away. What makes me really mad though is how it’s obvious that the pesticides harm the bees, and even us, but mainstream US farming continues to use it. We know pesticides are bad but we still use them?! Talk about messed up. I feel that if we really want to help see a comeback in the bee population we need to change up the way farming is run in this country. We need to ban the use of pesticides like they did in France, and we have to move towards a healthier, more organic way of cleaning what we grow so we don’t cause harm to bee colonies and other pollinating species.

I’d like to be able to walk out into the garden at my home and be able to see bees flying here and there doing what they do best. Instead though, like the farmers and many other worried peoples, I fear that there could be a day where the chance of seeing a little, humble bee buzzing to and from some flowers will be so incredibly small.

Disappearing Bees

After I saw The Vanishing of the Bees, I googled about that. There are tons of guesses about colony collapse disorder, and the strongest theories are several reasons that the documentary focused. Most days, people are mainly focused on themselves instead of surrounding environment. In my opinion, the strongest reason of CCD is the chemical insecticide. People have been using it since they invented it, and they ignored the negative effects. Well, until now, it brings all of the positive effects on our life, but the negative effects do not directly affect to human…

 

And also I did not understand why people were laughing at the effects of the electromagnetic waves, but it is very serious problem in my country, Korea. As we know, Korea uses very strong internet network –that is why Korea has so many MMORPG games!-and everyone, even 5 years old children have their own cell-phones. You cannot compare with United States because Korea is smaller than United States. Small range of location but huge amount of electromagnetic waves. I think it might be possible theory especially in Korea.

 

However, if the electromagnetic wave or insecticide is harmful for the bees, we cannot easily change the habits. It was quite impressive that French beekeepers against the insecticide company. But their problem is not exactly same with American beekeepers. It gave a clue but not a solution.. Maybe it is time to yield our convenience to nature like No impact man. The Vanishing of the Bees reminded me that it is time to do something.

My Personal Bee-ography

I wanted to talk about my own encounter with bees throughout my life…

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Datca (pronounced: Duh-cha) is a small village on the southeast corner of Turkey where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean.  I spend every summer there in my grandparents little summer house. It’s a vacation where palm trees are replaced by giant pines that smell of sweet nectar.  Where the horizon is framed with the Greek islands of Symi and Rhodos.  Beaches are short and covered in pebbles. Water is cold and salty, filled with stingrays, sea turtles, sea lions, hundreds of starfish, corals, shellfish.akyaka_3

Every morning, I would wake-up smelling the amazing breakfast my grandma made. I would run down stairs in my bathing suit just in time to help my grandpa who on a chair trying to balance his 65 year-old-body on a small stool, putting the “net” up.  I want to help him but they already start swarming around my body. “Buzz, buzz, buzz…” I know they are only honey bees and they’re not aggressive but it is impossible to do anything when there is so much of them.  I’m talking breakfast, lunch, dinner…. They are everywhere.  This is in 2004.

2013, June, I’m sitting in the breakfast table at  1pm… The notion of “morning” changes with age.  I’m sitting there and remembering the bees where are there? I haven’t seen a single bee or wasp for that matter the whole summer of 2013 that I was down in Datca.

 

STAND UP FOR PADDLE BOARDS!

Hello everyone,

You can view my presentation on logging out and getting out in to exploring the nature.  

I talk a bit about,

  • awesome wildlife photographers,
  • Devin Supertramp (look his videos up on YouTube),
  • The Lido Key Magrove Tunnels,
  • Where you can rent paddle boards and kayaks!

Stand up paddle boards and kayaks are a great way to exercise, and you can find them fairly cheap if you look at the right places.

I hope I can get you as excited as I am about getting out there!

Lara

 

Here is the presentation:

http://prezi.com/f1i3dtcyj6pt/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy 

Bees bees buzz honey bees

I thought the movie was very interesting. i really like bees and learning about how they work and how the hive operates was really nice and i think it did a very good job of showing and explaining. I think a lot of people don’t like bees because they’re either allergic, don’t know if they’re allergic or are scared of getting stung. for instance my roommate came home and a bee was stuck in her hair and she didn’t notice so i told her to go outside and i closed the door on her and then told her there was a bee in here hair. luckily she actually really adores bees but not knowing what to do, through the door we decided she should go to the health center for her bee head and surprisingly she said there was a bee expert there, he got it out of her hair and explained what kind of bee it was and stuff it was really interesting.

Honey is actually one of my favourite foods, and i use it to sweeten a lot of things so i dont use more refined sugars. Im definitely going to look into buying more local honey from now on. Actually i love when it has parts of the honeycomb in it, im not sure if that hurts the bees at all to take some of the honeycomb away. in high school we had senior projects and someone in my class actually did bee keeping, she had a hive of bees for half of senior year and when she was presenting her project she gave everyone a little cup of honey with the comb. i think it would be nice like said in the movie if lots of individual people had one bee hive rather than one person a lot. my boyfriend is allergic to bee so i dont know how well that would go over but…

Also, theres this website called beeraw.com, They sell Honey products and stuff that goes good with honey. They also have a section on their site about saving the bees and what people can do. it gives some facts but mostly it just tells you to plant flowers, dont use pesticides, and to donate. I really wish there was more the individual person could do to help the bees, i will definitely bee looking into helping them more!

http://beeraw.com/savethebees

 

 

B-b-b-bees…

I just had to.

Sweet dreams are made of bees… who am I to diss a bee?

…ahem.

The ongoing bee crisis is one environmental issue that I think is relatively well-known by the general public. I know I have seen a lot of Tumblr posts and news articles about it, and I knew the name “colony collapse disorder” and the rudiments of the story before watching The Vanishing of the Bees. The documentary filled me in on more of the facts, like the details of the bee transport industry and the problem with systemic pesticides.

bees

Poster by Hannah Rosengren (click the image to go to her site)

I see a lot of things around like this poster. I think many people are interested and concerned, since it is such a potentially devastating problem — but as far as I can tell, there isn’t much an everyday human can do… aside from planting wildflowers and “voting with our forks.”  (I think it would be cool and interesting to keep bees one day… in the very remote future…)

One of the bee experts in the documentary said something that I found interesting. It was something like, “We’re not suggesting everyone should just go back to primitive farming methods. We should combine the sustainable practices of the past with the technology and environmental knowledge we have today.” Obviously, that’s a lousy paraphrase, but you get the point. I hadn’t thought about it quite that way before, and I think anti-environmental people sometimes lump all environmentalists as tree-hugging, progress-hating hippies who just want to go back to the middle ages, or something like that. This is blatantly wrong and ignores the brilliant people who are using every resource at their disposal, including state-of-the art technology, to help save the planet. (I don’t think a lot of people would argue that the past was universally more eco-friendly. Sure, some people lived more sustainably because they didn’t have the resources to do otherwise. But some people also dumped chamber pots out the window and forwent sewage systems in favor of putting everything straight in the nearest river.)

Florida Springs

Florida Springs

I found this above link on tumblr and it’s quite interesting, especially after just watching the video about Silver Springs last class. I think these photos really create the right contrast to drive home what is happening to Florida’s springs—as you can see the water in all of these photos has become quite murky and algae ridden and even the human sites around them are in disrepair. It’s quite sad to look at, really.

Here is the website that the original post is associated with, as well. 

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

I will not make any more references to Futurama in this post. That’s not a promise.

So, in conjunction with the film we watched, The Vanishing of the Bees, I wanted to look up what kinds of foods honey bees pollinate, as it didn’t appear that they help pollinate corn and wheat (which seems dangerous in way, as there is enough corn and wheat in western diets and we don’t need to lose the supplies of the other vegetables we have).

Here’s a simple list compiled on Wikipedia of these foods, and as you can see each plant species has its insect counterpart, which is an amazing statement to the symbiotic relationships in nature and how easily it could messed up a whole ecosystem if one part of it was removed or lost, such as the honey bee. You can also note from this list the variety of the foods listed here and how many different places they come from—and the honey bee still is a major pollinator for all of them.

Here is a related scenario: the midge is a small South American insect that is responsible for pollinating cacao trees. Midges live and breed in bromeliads and the marshy areas of the rainforest. Loss of these habitats and of the fragile bromeliad ecosystems wouldn’t immediately effect the cacao trees, but without the midge to pollinate their flowers, the trees will never produce cacao beans, which is bad for the plants and the ecosystem but also means for us no more chocolate or coffee. Then we would destroy ourself as a society.

Without honey bees, this same scenario could happen to every food item on that list, which includes such staples as almonds, watermelon, carrots, apples, cherries, pears, etc. etc. I think what we stand to lose by losing the honey bee is clear, the question is will it be stopped and is it possible to retool our farming to work in a symbiotic relationship to the bee? I think so, but it will take a lot of time and work for us to change the farming system that’s come to such prominence in the United States and the dedication of a lot of bee lovers and people who eat food.

Hey, I did it! Wait—

Food Diversity of China

I am a Chinese, but would it be embarrassing for me to say that I have no idea what chinese food actually is? I believe that the subject of food diversity is in fact about diversity of climate and geography. China happens to be one of the most vivid examples of such diversity, and with almost 5000 years of history, chinese people have developed countless of unique food cultures,  I was only fortunate enough to encounter the tip of the iceberg. Because of the differences of climates, people in different regions discovered different ways of collecting sources and ingredients, they invented various method of cooking, each parts of China have their own types of cookware and utensils, for example, some places use clay, dark clay, red clay or “yellow clay”, while some other use leaves, lotus leaves, banana leaves, etc. It is also amazing how these knowledge have seamlessly pass down to generations. Nowadays if you go visit China, most part of it has already been westernized, however, the food cultures in china are so deeply rooted not even the rapid modernization could easily wipe them off.

My dad used to joke about this: Chinese eat everything in the sky besides planes; everything on the ground besides cars and everything in the water beside submarine. Partially it’s quite true, but mostly not everyone in China eats dogs or cats or goat testicles like people think we do. Luckily as someone from the south of China, I could probably say that the southerners have the actual privilege to the freshest ingredients; we definitely have the least struggle of all; we have nothing to do with any of the fermented foods or spicy foods, because we can get them fresh whenever we want there’s no need to put too much spice on it for preservation. People from the south value the natural taste of the ingredient, we try hard not to put too much extra spice while cooking, but just the right among. I still remember when I was younger, A chef on a TV cooking show once said: The stupidest thing for a southerner to do is to make their fresh fish spicy, it would be consider disrespectful to the fish. My mom always says the southerners are those who has the most sensitive tastes buds.

I want to show you some very common preserved foods from southern China but people can hardly see them in America. They might not look very nice, some of them even taste kind of funny but they’re interesting to showcase as part of the very ancient food culture of southern china. The only struggle the southerners have for preserving our food is to figure out the way to get them through the hot summer, drying, and smoking seems to be two of the most common methods I can remember. Dry Fish are very common, since they always got left over:

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they usually look pretty bad during process. Interesting enough it seems like most moms know how to do it.

We Also have Larou, very similar to bacon:

Before:

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After:

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Lachang was also made from the similar method for preservation but look like sausages:

Before:
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After:

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We even make dry vegetables:

Before:

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After (they usually use it for soup):

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