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Bees in the gardenWalking the land of my ancestors helped me remember that we live in nature, even as we turn on the tap for a drink of water in a high-rise apartment, or hang a planter full of marigolds and salvia in the backyard of our suburban home. Walking the land that they inhabited, and worked, also helped me realize that HOW we live in nature, how we relate to nature and tend our bit of local habitat matters!

It was perhaps easier for my ancestors to grasp this and act on it. They had to treat the soil and the grassland of the common pasture with respect for what IT needed to sustain itself from one year to the next. They had to if they, in turn, wanted to survive and thrive from one year to the next. In other words, they had a clear, vested interested in responsible and right relations with nature.

Cause and effect is much harder to see in today’s globalized, high-rise world. But the bees bring it home to us. Knowing no borders or other man-made boundaries, they treat all habitats as home. They enter a relationship with all the flowering elements of nature we’ve bought at a local gardening centre, trusting that this habitat is safe and healthy for them to feed in.

But a new study released by Friends of the Earth Canada reveals that over half the so-called ‘bee-friendly’ home-garden plants being sold at garden centres (think Canadian Tire, RONA , Home Depot) have been pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides that have been shown to harm and even kill bees. Check out Friends of the Earth Canada’s website, and the larger study, Gardeners Beware 2014, and learn what you can do to heal our relations with the bees.