It was only 14 years ago that the U.S. Senate unanimously approved and designated a week in June to bring awareness and be a critical step to address the decline in pollinators all across the world and to celebrate the benefits provided by the pollinator species. Bees and butterflies but also bats, small mammals, beetles and birds provide this vital work for our ecosystem. They sustain our ecosystems by helping plants reproduce to produce the natural resources we consume.
“The evidence is overwhelming that wild pollinators are declining around the world. Most have already experienced a shrinking of range. Some have already suffered or face the imminent risk of total extinction. Their ranks are being thinned not just by habitat reduction and other familiar agents of impoverishment, but also by the disruption of the delicate “biofabric” of interactions that bind ecosystems together. Humanity, for its own sake, must attend to the forgotten pollinators and their countless dependent plant species.”– E.O. Wilson, The Forgotten Pollinators
"Biofabric" was a term that took me to the ecosystems on our earth that clean the air, stabilize soils which help protect us from severe weather and even provide for the needs of wildlife we enjoy or know is out there as we listen to the birds in the morning and the insects singing through the night.
I hadn't thought to consider the value of pollinators to me personally but came to understand that these pollinators are responsible for one of every three bites of food we eat. Pollinators travel carrying pollen on their bodies from plant to plant creating the interaction that actually transfers genetic material necessary for reproduction. Think about the fruits, vegetables and nuts, but what about the fact that one half of the world's oils, fibers and raw materials depend on the little guys. Stream beds are protected from erosion because of the plants that survive along the course of their banks.
Pollination is the first step in providing the seeds for the future, which will be the next generation of the plants we need. Some plants self-pollinate, some with the help of wind and water, but the vast majority depend on the little ones. I hadn't known that means between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on earth need pollinators!
Walking among you are pollinators. They are not flying by, just out of reach, they are knocking on the doors of their friends, they are smiling at you at the Farmer's Market, they are believing in a different kind of future. They are thinking of the future. They can see the future as they hope it to be. They want to reclaim the treasure Tar Creek was in the lives of the generations who had once enjoyed the cool refreshing touch of fresh flowing water running through town. Our Tar Creek is damaged, because of the efforts of these pollinators dropping by engaging with you and your neighbors, there will be a whole community watching out for her now. "Not on my watch" they will say to any NEW polluter.
This is important change. Rather than all of us looking the other way, like the creek wasn't there anymore, this little creek has been collecting friends from here to yonder. People do care and people have power.
The work of our pollinators moves pollen from bloom to bloom, our people are carrying a message in the gist of a proposed ordinance from person to person. Each can then plant the seeds that are produced, empowering us to think about the important work we all have in producing the kind of future that can happen for the people who follow us, the generations we will never know.
Conservation efforts are known to work to protect pollinators and can change the world and secure our future. Our Tar Creek and her pollinators have been degraded by pollution which we have watched through the last 4 decades. But the watchers have been paying attention and they are signing petitions.
Engage with the pollinators who are carrying the Clean Water Protection Ordinance, they are looking to the future, a future we had not thought to believe in reach. Plant some seeds for the little ones, plan on watching the flowers bring the butterflies.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim