kids play at beach
An activist spreads the word and exchanges wildflowers for donations at the Farmer's Market in Boulder Colorado.

Spread the word even if it's controversial. Awareness about a topic is power; the more people who know the better!

Yes, individuals have power. We can support a product by buying it, and protest a product by not buying it. Simple. Though many products can improve our lives, corporations do not necessarily create a product for goodwill; they create and market it for profit.

While we hope that government agencies look out for our best interests, unfortunately that is not always to case. Most studies about the efficacy and safety of a product are funded by the company which created it or a sympathetic affiliated organization. Always check the source of information.

Roundup is Monsanto's keystone product, a weed killer/insecticide that anyone can buy for home use. It may be the easy solution but there are consequences to using it. Don't just buy blindly; consider the source of a product and its affect on our environment.

With a little research you can find natural ways to reduce weeds and insects. My Mom never once used a weed killer/insecticide on our yard. She pulled weeds by hand (and recruited me of course) taking great pride in the result.

We Need Bees!
via Steve

Life on Earth is about balance. Every part of the ecosystem supports another, and when one component of the system fails the rest can fall like a line of dominos. Bees pollinate plants, and about 30% of the plants that supply food to humans depend upon pollination.

Studies show bee populations are in global decline and this is a troubling trend. Colony collapse disorder [CCD] has been devastating honey bee populations since at least 2006. The mysterious disorder causes honey bees to disappear from their hives. Experts have several theories for CCD, including disease, parasites, stress, lack of access to food sources, and exposure to pesticides.

Multiple studies have established a link between chemicals used on crops with CCD. A study published by The Bulletin of Insectology, pinpoints two types of neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine, as lethal agents identifying Imidacloprid and Clothiandin having the greatest impact on healthy hives.

In drawing this conclusion, the researchers setup 18 hives in October 2012. The bees in 12 hives were fed high-fructose corn syrup or sugar laced with either Imidacloprid or Clothiandin. The other hives were fed untreated sugar or high-fructose corn syrup solutions.

By the next spring, half of the colonies of the insecticide-treated hives had disappeared. Those remaining in the hives were not healthy. The bees in one of the untreated colonies also died off, though evidence points to a parasite rather than CCD, because their bodies remained in the hive.

The authors wrote that the study results "reinforce the conclusion that sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoids is likely the main culprit for the occurrence of CCD."

The European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids, based on strong science indicating that neonics can kill bees outright and make them more vulnerable to pests, pathogens and other stressors.

In the U.S. neonicotinoids are currently used on about 95 percent of corn and canola crops, the majority of cotton, sorghum, and sugar beets, and about half of all soybeans, according to Wikipedia. They are also used on the vast majority of fruit and vegetable crops, including apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, and potatoes. Neonicotinoids are also applied to cereal grains, rice, nuts, and wine grapes. Imidacloprid is effective against sucking insects, some chewing insects, soil insects and is also used to control fleas on domestic animals. It is possibly the most widely used insecticide, both within the neonicotinoids and in the worldwide market."

Friends of The Earth warns: "It’s important for the media, policy makers and the general public to be alert to deceptive public relations strategies. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto make billions from bee-killing pesticide products while masquerading as champions of bee health."

In 2013, U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced the “Saving America’s Pollinators Act,” which seeks to suspend the use of neonics on bee-attractive plants until EPA reviews all of the available data, including field studies.

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