A beginner’s guide to neonics & how they harm our bees 

You don’t need to be reminded about just how important bees are to our world. They are primary pollinators of many of the foods we eat day to day, including almonds, watermelon and oranges, pollinators of 90% of the world’s wild plants, and they contribute to the €265bn economic benefit of pollination.

It’s safe to say life would be pretty different without bees, and our world wouldn’t be as amazing as it is.

But they’re in danger. You may have heard that bees are in decline, with over 40 percent of U.S honeybee hives dying off each year, which is costing the farming and beekeeping industry more than €2bn a year.

There are a few reasons why bee numbers are falling – destruction of habitat, increase in disease, etc – but one of the major reasons is a type of pesticide called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short.

What are neonics?

Neonics are a group of systemic pesticides, meaning they’re absorbed by all parts of the plant, including pollen and nectar collected by bees. They’re used in soil drench, seed coating and sprayed onto crop foliage to deter pests, and they’re pretty good at doing it. However, they’re also very harmful to bees.

How do neonics harm bees?

When neonics get into bees’ systems they affect several parts of their body and behavior. The pesticides hinder their foraging behavior, and have a detrimental effect on homing ability, memory, breeding, communication, and their immune system, more often than not leading to paralysis and death. 

Some will tell you that there is not enough research to conclusively prove that neonics are responsible for bee deaths, but the evidence is mounting quite considerably, and it’s largely accepted that neonics are certainly not health for our bees.

What’s more, it’s estimated that only around 5% of the chemicals go into the crops, with 94% ending up in soil and water, and 1% released into the air. 


Should neonics be banned?

Well, yes they should, but it really depends on who you talk to. Funnily enough, many pharmaceutical companies are against a blanket ban, whereas environmental campaigners would like to see them banned completely.

Several types of neonics are already banned in many countries, but there are still lots of places around the world that have no restrictions in place whatsoever over which chemicals are used to treat crops. 

Over in Europe, the European Commission apparently plans to put further restrictions in place, proving that this is still an issue very much in flux.

Want more information about neonics? Take a look at the infographic below from UK company Sun Leisure which explains what neonics are, the impact they have, and possible alternatives in an easy to digest format.


Source: //cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js

2017 Greenest Cities in America – WalletHub Study

With October being National Energy Awareness Month and New York recently becoming the first city to unveil a plan that upholds the Paris Climate Agreement among nearly 250 cities that pledged to do so, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2017’s Greenest Cities in America.

To determine which cities promote a “green” lifestyle, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 22 key indicators of environmental friendliness and sustainability. The data set ranges from greenhouse-gas emissions per capita to green job opportunities per capita to number of smart-energy policies and initiatives.

Greenest Cities in America
1 San Francisco, CA 
2 San Diego, CA 
3 Fremont, CA 
4 Honolulu, HI
5 San Jose, CA
6 Washington, DC 
7 Sacramento, CA 
8 Irvine, CA 
9 Portland, OR 
10 Oakland, CA 

Least Greenest Cities in America
91 Oklahoma City, OK
92 Cleveland, OH
93 Lexington-Fayette, KY
94 Toledo, OH
95 Tulsa, OK
96 St. Petersburg, FL
97 Louisville, KY
98 Jacksonville, FL
99 Baton Rouge, LA
100 Corpus Christi, TX

Best vs. Worst
Lubbock, Texas, has the lowest median air-quality index, 21, which is 4.3 times lower than in Riverside and San Bernardino, California, the cities with the highest at 90.

Anchorage, Alaska, has the most green space, 84.2 percent, which is 56.1 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the least at 1.5 percent.

Lubbock, Texas, has the lowest annual excess fuel consumption, 4.1 gallons per auto commuter, which is 8.5 times lower than in New York, Washington, as well as Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey, the cities with the highest, each at 35 gallons per auto commuter.

New York has the highest walk score, 89, which is four times higher than in Chesapeake, Virginia, the city with the lowest at 22.

Honolulu has the most farmers markets (per square root of population), 0.1197, which is 63 times more than in Newark, New Jersey, the city with the fewest at 0.0019.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-least-green-cities/16246/

HIPCAMP.COM’S TOP 10 CAMPGROUNDS FOR FALL FOLIAGE

The Green Living Guy is on the startup on a mission to get all of America outside to experience the vibrant fall leaves (and their awesome interactive map that lets you see when and where the leaves are changing!).

SEE HIPCAMP’S FALL FOLIAGE MAP: www.hipcamp.com/discover/fall-foliage-map


Consider this:
It’s the official start of fall and the harbinger of shorter days, making it one of the best times of year to go outside.
Hipcamp
[https://www.hipcamp.com/discover]—a startup that creates new places to stay in nature by unlocking access to beautiful private lands such as nature preserves, farms, and ranches. Aside from their cool interactive map, Hipcamp has hand-picked a few unique nature stays in America’s top 5 leaf-viewing regions:
Each campground hyperlinked below contains multiple discrete campsites.

#1. THE FINGER LAKES

Shiitake Mushroom Camp: New York

https://www.hipcamp.com/new-york/hawk-meadow-farm/shiitake-mushroom-camp

A pristine stream, a working mushroom farm, and fall leaves.

Sanctuary in the Woods: New York

https://www.hipcamp.com/new-york/sanctuary-in-the-woods/sanctuary-in-the-woods

Choose a cozy teepee or a double-bed platform.


#2. THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS

Beechwood Cabin Tent

https://www.hipcamp.com/south-carolina/thus-far-farm/beechwood-cabin-tent


Sleep in a protected enclosure with a tin roof and canvas tent.

Earthseed: Smoky Mt. Sanctuary
https://www.hipcamp.com/north-carolina/butterfly-farm-sanctuary/earthseed-smoky-mt-sanctuary

Enjoy a 12-foot-high tent and a babbling creek.


#3. THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS

Adirondack Little Star: New York

https://www.hipcamp.com/new-york/adirondack-star-ridge-studio/adirondack-little-star

Elevated camping in a covered cabin!
>> Adirondack Glamping: New York

https://www.hipcamp.com/new-york/wintergreen-lake/adirondack-glamping


Peep the leaves from the opening in this sturdy and comfortable tent.


#4. THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS

Crow Creek Farm: North Carolina

https://www.hipcamp.com/north-carolina/crow-creek-wetlands/crow-creek-farm

Enjoy a breakfast of fresh eggs from the farm’s chickens.
Apple Orchard Tent Camping: North Carolina

https://www.hipcamp.com/north-carolina/snaggy-mountain/apple-orchard-tent-camping

Camp on a grassy knoll overlooking gorgeous yellow leaves.


#5. THE GREEN MOUNTAINS

Onion River Campground: Vermont

https://www.hipcamp.com/vermont/onion-river-campground/onion-river-campground

In the fall, these green mountains dazzle in shades of yellow and orange.

Hidden Meadow Tent Site: Vermont

https://www.hipcamp.com/vermont/four-springs-farm-campground-learning-center/hidden-meadow-tent-site

Wander over a bridge to your own private campsite.

SEE HIPCAMP’S FALL FOLIAGE MAP: www.hipcamp.com/discover/fall-foliage-map

The Cost of Wasted Food Infographic

The global economy is producing more food than ever, yet an incredible 1/3 is being wasted. This is at a time when 7 million people are dying from malnutrition every year, and rich countries such as the UK have had to introduce food banks.

At a time when the global economy is producing more food and making a greater profit than at any time in history, one could be forgiven for thinking that the issue of feeding the global population is yesterday’s news. However, both in the UK and across the world, we are wasting more food than ever before. 

This infographic is to highlight awareness of an issue we can all help to change.

Cost of Wasted Food Infographic

Cost of Wasted Food Infographic, courtesy of Moneyguru.com

Ensia talks why we MUST protect 600,000 square miles that most people will never see!

WRITERJenny Woodman 

@JennyWoodman

Science writer and educator

October 3, 2017 — Much of what lay beneath the ship was a mystery. The edge of the continental shelf plummets more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) somewhere in the vicinity of oceanographer Robert Ballard’s Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, which was making its way to Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of San Francisco.

Photo Courtesy from Ensia and Rick Starr, CBNMS

October 3, 2017 — Much of what lay beneath the ship was a mystery. The edge of the continental shelf plummets more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) somewhere in the vicinity of oceanographer Robert Ballard’s Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, which was making its way to Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of San Francisco.

They say there are better maps of the moon and Mars than of Earth — some 70 percent of this planet’s surface is under water, and water disrupts radar signals needed to generate high-resolution maps. Most maps of the ocean floor have a resolution of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), meaning only objects with about that diameter or larger are discernible.

The E/V Nautilus offers scientists, educators and others a chance to learn and share stories about marine ecosystems. Photo courtesy of OET/Nautilus Live

The 211-foot (64-meter) ship left port at 9 a.m. on August 6 on a nine-day mapping and exploration expedition with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help resolve some of that mystery by sending remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, down to identify new habitat areas and ocean floor topography. I joined the team as a science communication fellow funded by Ocean Exploration Trust, which owns and operates the E/V Nautilus.
As Ensia mentions at the beginning of the story:

They say there are better maps of the moon and Mars than of Earth — some 70 percent of this planet’s surface is under water, and water disrupts radar signals needed to generate high-resolution maps. Most maps of the ocean floor have a resolution of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), meaning only objects with about that diameter or larger are discernible.

For the entire story on Ensia