Several months ago I attended a one day conference in Ashland focused on protecting pollinating insects from the threat of pesticides. The conference was well attended, with twomeeting rooms for different conversations and speaker panels.
I listened to a talk about Monarch butterflies and their remarkable migration routes, and about efforts being made to establish Monarch way stations. We also heard from a man who worked on social justice issues for migrant workers, who have a really hard time getting treatment for the illnesses they contract working amidst industrial pesticides. The ramifications of spraying poison on everything are difficult for many to want to face, but for some, they cannot be ignored.
We also heard a talk by a young lady who was working with the Southern Oregon University landscaping department to overhaul their program and find ways to decrease their use of pesticides and herbicides. I was glad to see that such efforts were being made, even if it seems working within the system that way limits you to pretty small steps...
In the bigger picture, we must cease to see weeds and insects as the enemy. Civilization seems to be at war with all of nature, totally failing to understand why weeds grow, and why pests invade mono-culture crops. Understanding the bigger picture and redesigning our communities accordingly is the work of our times. Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated people, events like this help educate and inform people about the dangers of large scale use of pesticide and herbicides.
Talent, OR was the second city in all of the North America to become an official Bee City. This entails efforts on the part of the city to plant pollinator habitat gardens and to limit or phase out dangerous pesticides. Now there are several other Bee Cities, including Ashland. We participated in a special thank you to the city council, organized by the Pollinator Project, with the girls all dressed up as bees and butterflies. They also got to wear these costumes again when they marched with the Pollinator Project in the Fourth of July parade in Ashland.
I enjoyed myself at the conference, and I got to chat with some folks I've been getting to know better as I've gotten a bit more involved in local activities and events this year. I ended up helping out with some of the filming being done of all the presentations, and in thanks, I was given a very nice care package of honey, milkweed starts, and other potted flowers. Many thanks to all the hard working activists, and thanks to the bees!