To the Editor,
You have the key to unlock the tool chest to rejuvenate and save the most basic foundation needed to support human life.
“And what is that?” you ask.
It is the vast and quickly diminishing community of native pollinators of bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, flies and small mammals that work together to supply 85% of the main global crops that feed people—fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oils. This hardworking group also is responsible for being the food for many other animals, besides us, in the worldwide ecosystem. If they go, we go. And you can do something right now where you live to help them regenerate.
You can accomplish this and it does not depend on the size of your yard, your balcony, your community garden, an empty urban lot, or on large corporate campuses. Plant and they will find you. You will discover the incredible beauty of the plants that are native to wherever you live and the knock-your-socks-off intricate and colorful patterns that our native pollinators are dressed in. Not even our most outstanding clothing designers can match the delicacy of detail that is on display.
Take a section of whatever your outdoor space includes and create an oasis for pollinators by planting the native plants for your area that include flowers, shrubs, small trees and large shade trees. Plan it in an arc of seasonal blooming that provides food and shelter for them in the spring, summer and fall. So, not difficult to start but you do need a plan so that you are not just sticking plants here and there randomly.
Throwing them into the ground with some fertilizer is not sufficient. Soil type, sun or shade, moist or dry conditions, and other considerations that they are used to are important factors to know. You can still have some lawn but implement better practices for it.
What are the factors that are causing the pollinator decimation? Vast lawns of grass and gardens of exotic invasive plant species that are barren of pollinator support and are saturated with salt based synthetic fertilizers that work in concert with the applied pesticides, fungicides and herbicides to kill the vital life of the soil food web.
Because these plants are perennials, their root systems grow deeper every year and thereby sequester more carbon (the connection with climate change that also includes the expansion of greening our planet).
Just like when you go on a trip, you need to have places to stop and get food, drink and rest. That is what we need to supply in order to rejuvenate, revivify and restore our vital and generous native pollinator co-existors.
Judith K. Robinson