Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Erin Palacios: It is not About the Honey

PSH100A Environmental Studies
Warner Pacific College
August 4, 2014

Natural Resources
            “It’s not about the honey, unless you are Pooh bear,” says the National Resource and Defense Council (2008).  In the past decade the honey bee population has been dying off and not many people really notice it unless you are in the bee business.  Bees don’t just make honey – they are our number one pollinator, in addition to some other 200,000 species ranging from bees to birds and insects. 
            It started in 2006 when colonies worker bees started dying off.  Colonies would lose 30-90% of their bee population.  The cause of the deaths was coming from Colony Collapse Disorder (CDC).  The collapse continued to happen for the next six years. 
            Over the past several years this has prompted scientist to research what is going on and what is causing the honey bee death toll to rise.  It was imperative to find out what the cause was because honey bees are responsible for pollinating approximately $30 billion worth of U.S. crops.  Honey bees dying off had the same effect that the drought of 2012 did for corn crop production.  It was imperative to find out what killing bees and killing potential crops.  At this point bee keepers need to research out for some external assistance.  
            In 2007 the USDS led the federal government in an action plan t and a co-chaired workshop of scientist to develop a Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan (USDA.gov).  Some people may wonder why we should care about what happens to the honey bees – bees are responsible for the natural pollination of billions of dollars in harvestable crops on a yearly basis.  Some of the crops that are seriously affected by the natural pollination of bees are almonds, and other tree nuts, fruits, berries and vegetables.  We need them to sustain our environment and they are a vital role to the U.S. alone as a natural resource.  Since 2006 the USDA has been testing the deceased bees to determine the root cause of death.  Some speculation as to what was causing the wide spread death was the use of pesticides, but others say it could be the parasite Varro mites.
            In 2010 a risk assessment was performed to determine what was affecting the honey bees and a protection plan was introduced.  The protection plan stated that as a vital environmental resource we need to first understand the impact the honey bee plans on our economy and livelihood.  Second was to increase our knowledge of the organism that potentially comes in contact with the bees, like pesticides or parasites to develop protection from those elements.  Third was to make sure there was a proportionate level of control in place agriculturally on what types of pesticides are being used and tested (Moriarty, 2011).
            Honey bees are just as much a natural resource as timber is and we need to take care of all natural resources.  In Oregon along timber generates $5.2 billing in total income, but where will that income come from once timber sources are depleted?  That is yet to be determined.  However statistically over the last fifty years the overall acreage of landscape if time has not changed much.  This is such a vital part to the economy and beauty of Oregon that we have to continue to be aware of our natural surroundings and make sure we grow and renew them in a timely manner so they are sustainable. 
Moriarty, Thomas (Janurary, 2011). Pesticide Risk Assessment for Pollinatiors: Summary of SETAC Pellston Workshop.  Seatac Press. Washington DC. http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.setac.org/resource/resmgr/publications_and_resources/executivesummarypollinators_.pdf?hhSearchTerms=SETAC+and+Pellston+and+Workshop
              [retrieved on August 4, 2014]
National Resource and Defense Council. (September, 2008) It’s not about the honey http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/0809.asp
 [retrieved on August 3 , 2014]
USDA.gov (June 20,2014)

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