Bees and butterflies

By From page A5 | July 09, 2014


Bees and butterflies are diminishing worldwide. Some places in California have less than 90 percent of the bee population of just a few years ago. Last year California almond growers imported bees from as far away as Texas to pollinate the almond crop. Einstein noted that when all the bees die, all humans will die within four years.

French scientists have discovered that both bees and butterflies are susceptible to certain chemical sprays used on farm crops to control pests and weeds. These chemicals destroy bees and butterflies along with harmful pests and weeds. France has outlawed these chemicals; America has not. They are still in use, despite their harmfulness.

Bees and butterflies are not the only beneficial creatures being destroyed by modern farming methods. Our top soil is host to a vast array of microorganisms, many symbiotic, some harmful. Symbiotic means living in a beneficial relationship to other life forms.

Symbiotic microorganisms assist plants by dissolving small pieces of sand in the soil, thus allowing plants to uptake these minerals into the food the plants produce. However, over many years of farming, modern fertilizers and chemical sprays have diminished the soil bacteria by changing the soil into an acidic base, which is unfriendly to the beneficial microorganisms. You see, modern fertilizers and chemicals are formed from a petroleum base. This petroleum base acidifies the soil gradually over time. This is why more and more fertilizer must be used each year to grow farm crops. The soil microorganisms are gradually dying off.

You may have read that it takes 10 cups of spinach to provide nutritionally what one cup of spinach provided years ago. That is due in part to the absence of beneficial soil microbes. Nutritional content of crops is due to nutritional content of the soil they grow in. Leaching of minerals from the soil due to irrigation and failure to rotate crops to preserve soil balance are other modern farming problems. Modern crops do not contain the bioavailable minerals of crops 60 years ago. This may help explain the poor health of many Americans. We are what we eat.

Modern farming methods cannot go on. Pouring more and more fertilizer and pesticide on the soil is not ultimately beneficial because it is destructive to bees, butterflies and soil microorganisms. A few years after the bees and butterflies die, we die. As the poet said, “This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends … not with a bang but a whimper.”


Letters to the Editor

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.