Ruth

Ruth is from Wales and has lived abroad for nearly 10 years, she enjoys her vegan lifestyle, loves animals and hopes to inspire others along the way. Her new blog is up and running at http://ruthculbreth.wordpress.com

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I am not the smartest person out there, in fact I should be diagnosed allergic to study. However, there is something extraordinary in being interested in something and finding out more about it until your brain switches off and you need a nap (which usually happens to me.)

But I found myself looking for something to be interested in recently, I want to be smarter so I have to study, right?

Recently when I was home in the good old Welsh valleys a young man approached me in the shopping town of Neath and I noticed from his red shirt and clipboard that he was doing one of those horrid summer jobs where you stand in the streets, day in and day out, and get ignored constantly by people in a hurry.

So of course I tried to ignore him and pretend I was in a hurry however he gained my interest by mentioning bees. I know a little about our buzzy fuzzy friends through being a vegan and I stopped purely out of curiosity.

-“Bee rates are in decline” he said. “What are you doing to help?”
-“I am a vegan”, I replied. Yep I sounded really smug and sometimes you can get away with it. I try not to do it too often though 😉
-“It’s OK to eat honey though, it’s good for you” he retorted. I am sure he hated by smugness.
-“But it’s bee vomit” Ta Da.

I made a sharp exit hurrying into a store because anything more than the the bee vomit comment would have been way more than I could handle since I actually didn’t know too much about bees and honey. Now I do.

Why don’t vegans eat honey?

The basic rule of thumb is that Vegan by definition, Veganism /ˈviːɡənɪzəm/, is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. Thanks Wiki.

So if we want to label ourselves vegan, or more likely the world would like to label us so they can differentiate the weirdos from the ‘normal’ people (high five weirdos), we should not consume anything made for or by animals. We are not the only species that eats honey, more importantly we are not the ones that NEED honey.

“A thick, golden liquid produced by industrious bees, honey is made using the nectar of flowering plants and is saved inside the beehive for eating during times of scarcity” (Source)

It is incredible how hard these little bees work, they search all day for flowers, suck out the nectar with their tongue, they then fly back to their hive with the nectar in their stomach and vomit it right into another bee’s mouth, back and forth, until they have a more honey-like consistency.

The honey is too liquid when put into the honeycomb so the bees then flap their wings in order to speed up evaporation.

Why are bee rates in decline?

There are numerous factors contributing to the decline of bees. According to Marla Spivak, an expert on bees who did an impressive talk on Ted (please watch), one of the main contributing factors is pesticides.

Colony Collapse Disorder (bees just disappearing) could be down to the fact that ingesting pesticides, in particular the insecticide ‘Neonicotinoid’ (try saying that 10 times fast after a glass of wine,) which is chemically similar to Nicotine, has a great effect on the bees.

Bee Beard 2
Max xx / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

If the flower has been treated with a high concentrate of this insecticide, the bee will die. If the dose is small, the bee may not die but will become disorientated (essentially drunk) and unable to find its way home.

Now some people may rejoice in the news of the decline of these insects. Gone are the days of growing up and being careful not to be stung by one of the 20,000 plus types of these creatures. Although I am not sure the man on the right would agree that bee’s are scary.

But unfortunately, bees are important, far more important than us. If we go extinct the world would go on and possibly thrive, if bees go extinct 1/3 of our crops would disappear.

Everything in our world is dependant on us working as a team, from the little bees to the biggest trees. The sooner we realise this and refrain from doing something just because it hasn’t hurt us yet the better.

I also urge you to consider buying organic to petition with your purse. Unfortunately, the world we live in puts higher price tags on feeding ourselves healthy and many can’t afford a full organic shop, but there are ways and means.

Environmental Working Group 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

  • DIRTY DOZEN (buy organic)

    1. Apples
    2. Strawberries
    3. Grapes
    4. Celery
    5. Peaches
    6. Spinach
    7. Sweet Bell Peppers
    8. Nectarines (Imported)
    9. Cucumbers
    10. Cherry Tomatoes
    11. Snap Peas (Imported)
    12. Potatoes
  • CLEAN FIFTEEN (no need to buy organic)

    1. Avocados
    2. Sweet Corn
    3. Pineapples
    4. Cabbage
    5. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
    6. Onions
    7. Asparagus
    8. Mangoes
    9. Papayas
    10. Kiwi
    11. Eggplant
    12. Grapefruit
    13. Cantaloupe
    14. Cauliflower
    15. Sweet Potatoes

This list will serve as a guide to what foods you can save money on by buying non-organically. We need to make a stand against pesticides destroying our planet. It isn’t just the present that counts, bee careful for the future.

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