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Theresa Albert Headshot

Where We Might Be Without Bees

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New evidence about what might be wiping out our bee population points to the neonicotinoid pesticide (made by Bayer) used to soak conventionally raised corn seeds. About 90 per cent of corn grown today is treated this way. Here is why you should care: without bees, there is no pollination. Without pollination, plants that are grown for food, as well as trees and shrubs to keep our planet cool, are at risk.

It is probably common knowledge that high fructose corn syrup is a key suspect in our obesity issue which is crushing our culture. It may even be understood that corn, fed to cows, creates inflammatory fat in the animal thereby adding to our own inflammatory illnesses like heart disease, dementia and arthritis. (Although, I am surprised how many people still don't know this.) But, if you knew that the very growing of so much corn is also the number 1 suspect in the bee decimating "colony collapse disorder" would you be motivated to change the way you eat?

You only eat a few cobs of corn each summer, right? How could that be doing harm? The truth is people are eating truckfuls of corn each year and they just don't know it. Corn is used to feed cattle and chickens. It is also grown as a sweetener that is cheap and sweeter than sugar, so it is used in junk food. Until now, I figured, hey, if you want to eat crap, that's your business, it doesn't affect me. Except, now, it does.

Junk food's contribution to our obesity issue is a multi-faceted battle that will impact our health care system. If our growth and use of corn is impacting our very ecosystem, now I'm ticked. If the family picnic including Doritos and Twinkies is killing the bees that keep our very planet cool, we have an issue. How many generations until you won't be able to have that picnic outdoors? It will be too darned hot and there won't be a tree left to shade you.

So the question is, what to do about it? The answer is simple, the implementation of it, not so much.
Stop eating corn. The treasure hunt that those three little words sets us on is lifelong and virtually impossible. But it starts with,

• Buy as little as possible of the food that has the ingredient glucose-fructose(that likely comes from corn). This rules out mostly junk anyway.

• Stop drinking soda pop and sweetened fruit drinks containing glucose-fructose.

• Avoid Maltodextrin. This is a corn derived material used in packaging and some foods like instant coffee, soup mixes, etc. to keep them from clumping.

• Swap corn oil or "vegetable oil" (which is likely corn oil) for grapeseed or other oil.

• If you choose to eat red meat make it organic or grass fed (at least the corn will be organic and devoid of the pesticide in question).

• Chickens eat less corn than cows but it's a good idea to go organic here as well.

• Opt for meatless meals as often as possible.

I am not a fatalist but I do think that until there is definitive proof that this pesticide is harming the bees (like when pigs fly, for instance) things are not likely to change from the top down. We may have a collective chance of changing things from the ground up. Have at it.