From Dennis Patton:
Get out the hats and let’s have a party as we celebrate another national day, or Week of Something. It seems like there is now a recognition for just about everything; from being left handed (which I am), to eating hotdogs. But this week our attention turns to the unsung heroes, the pollinators. June 15–21 is National Pollinators Week. Who would have thought that growing up we would need to designate a special day, let alone a week, in order think about insects and other creatures?
But you know what they say about how times have changed. It seems we must be reminded that these seldom-seen or thought-about creatures need their own week. Yes, I know I am being very tongue and cheek. In reality that is not my intent at all. I guess what I am saying is it’s really rather sad, and more of a statement about us as humans. Sometimes you can’t help but laugh through the tears.
How did we ever get to the point where there needs to be a National Pollinator Week? The answer to that question is probably an endless discussion, as everyone would have their own ideas and would be quick to point their finger in many directions. The reality is we all created this problem. Yes, I would say that I am even guilty of taking for granted the birds, bees, moths, butterflies and bats and what they do for the world’s flora and fauna. I guess we have all been guilty of the out-of-sight/out-of-mind syndrome.
That is exactly why today we need a National Pollinators Week. It grabs our attention, if even for a split second, making us at least think about the role pollinators play in the environment and our food supply. Part of the problem is that we just go to the grocery store and buy what we want. Yes, we complain about the price, but really, when we pick up that peach or apple do we stop and think what it took to get it on the store shelf? If we do, we think more about the shipping and handling and less about the production side.
I can answer this question personally, as this past weekend I purchased a bag of nectarines. I wondered if they were grown in the United States or shipped in from Mexico or South America. But I did not stop to think or visualize the orchard. I did not think about a honeybee pollinating the crop. I did not think about the people that grew the fruit. But I did think for a split second about all the pesticides that were probably applied. My greatest concern was the taste and would I get my money’s worth.
Because we don’t think about the most basic of functions, the pollination of our crops, we need a National Pollinator Day. Let’s not dwell about the causes but focus on the positives. This special week will hopefully get us talking and thinking just a little more about what we can do in our little piece of the world. We realize that simply by celebrating none of us will change the world situation. But by each of us thinking and acting, bit by bit we can make a difference.
Next time I grab for that bag of tasty, juicy nectarines I just might stop for a second and think about the unsung heroes that brought this food to my table. This time it will not be the farmer (sorry Dad) but the butterflies, moths, bees and other pollinators that are really the unsung heroes and hard workers of the world. Happy National Pollinators Week! For more information visit: http://www.pollinator.org/pollinator_week_2015.htm