Today's New York Times has a story (fortunately for the purposes of educating people, it's their "Most Emailed" story of the day so far) about the continuing die-off of honeybees, which is apparently getting even worse. The article mentions several different theories for why this is happening with special emphasis on the possible role of a pesticide derived from nicotine that actually gets delivered through the plants themselves. I imagine most people who read this blog have some idea of how serious this issue is but in case you didn't here's the fun fact of the day from the article:
Nor is the impact limited to beekeepers. The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees. Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices.(Emphasis added.) And I'm pretty sure that the quarter of the American diet being most effected is not the one that includes diet soda, cheeseburgers and pixie sticks. So what can be done? Start voting with your wallet. Shop at places where the food was produced by small-scale farmers who avoid these kinds of pesticides. Consider CSAs, farmers' markets, and local co-ops. Your budget may take a hit in the short run but that's nothing compared to the hit we're all going to take if one-quarter (the good quarter) of our diet disappears.