Pollinator gardens help reverse ecological damage

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

In the lead article in the Aug. 19, paper, Richie Davis was focused on “tension between neighbors” and missed the major reason why many of us are building “pollinator gardens.”

For years now, we have been losing huge percentages (as much as 50 percent a year) of our pollinators to poorly identified toxins that affect bees, butterflies and other pollinators. This is genocidal for human beings since something like half of our food supply relies on pollinators. Many of these pollinators are not the formal hive bees, but tiny wild bees, wasps or butterflies.

Human beings have managed to remove what looks like “weeds” to us, but may be one of the most productive sources of food for the generous insects that provide free pollinator services for us every day, turning barren stalks to productive fruits, vegetables, or fecund seeds for next years root crops.

Some communities in the hilltowns have debated the issue in town meetings and have decided by majority vote to ban “neonicitinoids” the substances refined from “nicotine’ plants used to make potted plants look better even though they hold a deadly secret. Neonicitinoids added to the plant soil are addictive to pollinators, and can cause confusion and death of these essential helpful insects.

In our eagerness to plant beautiful flowering plants and create orderly gardens, we too often chose plants that are actually causing their death, because the deadly substances are taken up by the plant into the flowers and the pollen. Plus, we have simply eradicated the plants most needed by most pollinators, like the Monarch butterfly.

It is a self-defeating genocide. This is a cause taken up by Tactics Action Center, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, NOFA, and other organizations, calling for every plant we purchase to be labeled neonicitinoid-free. If you do not see a label on the plant you buy, don’t assume, ask. Avoid stores that are still selling neonicitinoid-infused soil. And let us find a way to be more tolerant of our pollinator-protector neighbors.

Pamela Kelly