Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    You may think the pollinator such as bees, bats, and butterflies are just pesky little creatures constantly getting in your way, but really we are just constantly getting in their way of the flowers. They're helping us out a lot in their own way so therefore we should help them out just as much. Pollinators are helping provide us with the nutrients that we need to survive, so therefore we should be helping them out just as much by saving their habitats and protecting their help. They have been disappearing constantly and it is all our fault. By using toxic pesticides on our gardens and farm fields we are contaminating the pollinators with these pesticides which, which are killing them off. We are also not planting quite enough flowers for the them to be able to get the food (pollen) that they need. For these reasons, the pollinators are dying off and is up to us to help them.

     Pollinators are dying due to how most people are not aware of what they're doing in their everyday lives that is harming these creatures. If they are aware of what bad things they're doing, well, they're not doing much to stop it. The major issue is that there are too many toxic pesticides being used in farms, and even gardens as well. When the bees pick up these pesticides from the plants, they are not only hurting themselves, but they are spreading the disease to the rest of the hive, maybe even the queen, causing the whole colony to die. The second thing that is causing the pollinators to disappear is that there are not enough wildflowers and plants for the pollinators to feed off from. In addition to these reasons, there are many other small things that are causing the pollinators to disappear. According to Newsela, “There are many culprits. One is a change in farming so there’s not enough different kinds of crops and wildflowers for the pollinators.” (Newsela, March 14, 2016). This example demonstrates how it is things that we are doing that is killing off pollinators. In this example, it is that there is not enough food (nectar) for pollinators to survive off from. Bees are picking up unbelievable amounts of pesticides from only a single plant. Marla Spivak explains, “Every batch of pollen that a honey bee collects has at least six detectable pesticides in it.” (Marla Spivak, September 17, 2013). This evidence models how much of these horrible pesticides are out there that we are completely oblivious to. Overall, there are a lot of thing that we are doing, maybe not intentionally, that are causing the pollinators to die off, and these thing must stop.

     Pollinators are extremely important to our environment because they pollinate crops – transferring pollen from one plant to another. Plants can be "hand pollinated”, but when animals do it, not only do the crops come out more lush and full, but it is also much more efficient. Only a small percentage of the plants on Earth are pollinated by wind or water. The rest are all taken care of by the animals. Without pollinators we would not be able to survive, proving that there is an amazingly strong relationship between pollinators and humans. According to an article about native pollinators, animals are a very important part of pollination. The article says, “Approximately 90 percent of all flowering plants require pollinators to survive.” (Unknown Author, April 25, 2016). This evidence illustrates that pollinators are indeed the key to human survival.

     If we lose pollinators, then we lose a substantial amount of our fruit and vegetable crops. If pollinators die off, humans will have to do almost all of the work, and will not even get as nice of a product. Humans rely on pollinators, and pollinators are starting to need to rely on humans just as much. As the pollinators population is declining, our economy is being affected as well. Noah Wilson-Rich explains, “The costs of over 130 fruit and and vegetable crops that we rely on for food is going up in price.” (Noah Wilson-Rich, June, 2012). This is only one example of how much we rely on pollinators for survival and how important they are to our economy and food supply. In conclusion, there are many different consequences to losing pollinators, and we still need to learn just how many horrible effects there are.

     Many things are already being done around the world and in America to save the pollinators, just not quite enough. Some companies, including Lowe's and Home Depot, have even agreed to stop using toxic pesticides or label them that they are toxic when selling them and even start selling organic pesticides like Bacillus Thuringiensis (commonly known as BT) instead. President Obama has even noticed that there is a problem and has taken action. According to Nandita Bose, “In 2014, the White House announced a plan to fund new honey bee habitats and to form a task force to study how to reverse the honeybee declines.” (Nandita Bose, June 9, 2015). This example demonstrates that it is not just a few people that care, but also people with more power, such as in this example, the president. If the White House cares, and we care, then you should care too. Many things are being done about the issue of the pollinators population declining, we need our voices to be heard, and with more people, we can make that happen more easily.

     To address these issues and save the pollinators, people can stop using toxic pesticides in their gardens and farm fields, plant wildflowers in empty field and garden spaces, among a variety of other things. Here at Massabesic Middle School, we are planting wildflowers and vegetable gardens around the school to help provide nectar and pollen for the pollinators. Some countries around the world are already seeing fabulous results. According to, “Many European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia have already banned neonicotinoids in response to the threat, and beekeepers in these countries report that hives are beginning to recover.” (Author Unknown, May 13, 2016). This models that when you actually do something about the problem, such as banning the dangerous pesticides, a major improvement can occur. The other thing that we can do to help pollinators, planting wildflowers to provide pollen and nectar to the pollinators, is very important as well. An article talking about what we can do to help save pollinators shows us details about this. The article says, “Both nectar and pollen flowers should be available throughout the growing season.” (Unknown Author, May, 2005). This detail illustrates that the pollinators really are having to rely on us for food, just like we are relying on them to produce, through pollination, our food. In the end, there are many things that we can be doing to save the pollinators and these were only a few examples of the really important ones.

     On the other hand, some people believe that pollinators are not the most important key to having food on our plates. They think that pesticides and GMOs are much more important. This is because the pesticides are killing off the bad bugs that are killing the crops, and some believe that this is more important than protecting the good bugs. They think that, though many pesticides can be toxic to bees, neonicotinoids are not part of the problem. Others, though, believe that pesticides are not part of the problem at all. They think that there would be just as many bad results, such as the yield of crops going down just as much as they would if there were not enough pollinators. Some also think that just like if there were no pollinators, the price of many foods would go up and the nutrition levels of foods would go down. According to Hembree Brandon, “Without herbicides, the most widely-used class of pesticides in the United States, crop production and yields would drop, pristine habitat would have to be plowed under to accommodate more crop acres, and the additional cultivation would result in more soil erosion, said Leonard Gianessi of the National Center for Food & Ag Policy.” (Hembree Brandon, May 3, 2002). This shows that there are many cons to getting rid of pesticides as well as many pros. In the end, you just have to sort out who it is that you agree with.

     Overall, pollinators are very important key to our survival. They help us by transforming the simple blossoms of flowers into lush, full, fruits and vegetables. Pollinators are helping provide us with the nutrients that we need for survival so in return we should be protecting their health and habitat just as much. They provide us with nutrients by carrying the pollen from one flower to another in a process known as pollination. These animals are disappearing rapidly and it is up to us to help them. They are dying due to how they are losing habitat because of buildings being put up. Also, a lack of wildflowers and plants, because of a change in farming (not enough of a variety of crops being planted) is causing pollinator population decline as well. Thankfully, many things are already being done to protect the pollinators, not just in the United States, but in other countries as well. Some of these things are limiting toxic pesticides and providing more wildflowers and vegetables, which provide food for the pollinators. The places around the world that are making these changes are seeing very impressive results. There are many different opinions about whether or not pesticides are dangerous or not. I believe that a lot of pesticides can be toxic and cause horrible things to happen. Others, though, if they are good for the environment can be necessary and have many pros in farming and gardening.  You just have to make sure that you are using the good pesticides that are good for the environment and that you are using them in the correct ways. No matter what you are doing, you just have to make sure that you have a good balance of doing what is right for the environment, our economy, and our pollinators.

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