The birds and the bees…

We recently talked about how the bees on our planet are very slowly, but surely, dying off?

This subject has been highlighted many times over by scientists, but it seems not a lot of people are paying much attention to it…meanwhile, the bees continue to die.

Rather than go on and on about the technicalities of the thing, I think one little sentence will surmise what bees mean to life on earth:

“Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat….in short, no bees, no food, period”

So what can we do about it?

I put this question to a group of friends the other day, when we just happened to be gathered at the Everything Cafe (E Pender/Columbia).

The consensus was that the problem be tackled on a local basis. Especially important are derelict or unused places in downtown core city areas. I know for sure that there are many such places, some tiny, some large, in and around the Vancouver downtown area, which, with a little co-operation from the city authorities, be turned into havens for bees and butterflies.

I noticed such areas last time I was walking around the railway Street area, just past Alexander/Dunlevy in the downtown eastside (DTE). That place has many old and derelict buildings which have little areas of grass or turf either behind or in front, that could easily be dug up and planted with wildflowers and other plants that attract insects.

And this can be done anywhere in the world, wherever you are.

So in the downtown Vancouver area, we have formed ourselves a little co-operative, and are looking for as many more members as possible, the more the better, so that when we say something later on, the authorities will have no choice but to at least listen to what the local residents are saying.

If you wish to join us, please leave a comment here and I will email you back with our next meet-up….remember, FREE coffees are on us!

Please don’t take my soul away!

I was once on a trip with a small group in India, and as always happens, the best places to visit are small villages along the route.

At times like these, I try and part company with the main group and veer off on my own, catching up with the rest later on. So I walked off and about half an hour later, I came to a little village…well, more of a collection of huts than anything else, with a well at the centre.

Soon as the people living there saw a westerner, they all clamoured around inviting me to their huts for a drink or to eat, which I humbly declined.

I got talking with a young guy….not real talk, as the guy couldn’t talk a word of english, but we sort of understood what the other was saying by sign language and a few words of hindi I’d picked up. At that moment, another westerner, came onto the scene, bristling with cameras.

Rather than say hello or try and greet the locals, he immediately started snapping shots of them with his camera. Now, I know in some cultures, taking photos is a definite no-no, and in some places in India, especially so. I could see the look of anger on the villager’s faces, but credit to them, they didn’t say anything. The young guy I was talking to explained to me that taking their photos is akin to taking their souls away.

I pushed him to get a more detailed idea of what he meant. At long last, he made me understand that they regard every human being as having a sacred soul, and that soul is to be respected. Who knows, he said, how those photos would be used in the West; they maybe thrown around and end up underfoot, the very worst of disrespect for a person. Or the photos may be on display in a place where unhealthy or immoral acts are taking place, etc etc.

The villagers asked me to explain to the other westerner that what he was doing was not good. I tried…and ended up with a bucketful of abuse!

Whatever, the moral here is that we should be careful when visiting peoples abroad. They may, and in my experience, they very definitely do not, share the same views as we have as regards morality or acceptable behaviour.