Marriedwithbees.com is all about bees and beekeeping. I don’t make political statements because even though I have opinions I recognize that rational, educated people have different life experiences and different opinions. That’s ok with me. The bees don’t care. Bees make honey for people of all political persuasion, and bees will sting without preference to political party. I have been reading news article about H. Res. 109 (aka The Green New Deal) introduced by Representative Ocasio-Cortez, but today I decided to read the actual text of the resolution in order to see, “What’s in it for the bees?”
Here’s the link if you want to read the text of the resolution for yourself:
The first thing that surprised me was the resolution’s brevity. The resolution proposes to change nearly every facet of life in the United States, but it was significantly shorter than the agreement I signed to establish my mobile phone service. I don’t know if I should be upset about the resolution or angry at my mobile phone service provider. My next thought was, “Who could be against this?” Why would anyone want to be against fair wages, clean water, sustainable energy, and helping the disadvantaged? Puppies and kittens weren’t mentioned specifically in the resolution, but you get the feeling that they are implied as well.
Here’s why some people may not be enamored with this particular resolution…. There is absolutely no substance to the resolution. The resolution doesn’t even contain high level proposals for how to accomplish its many objectives. What people may forget is that the actual New Deal enacted during FDR’s administration was a series of specific policy proposals that resulted in specific pieces of legislation. The Green New Deal has nothing that I could see as being easily translated into meaningful legislation. My high school term paper was longer and had more details than H. Res. 109. (I also had to write my paper on a typewriter. It was hard core in those days. No spell checking or autocorrect.) Too bad my high school English teacher Mrs. Courtney retired. She could help several of the lawmakers on capital hill today. I could have written the Green New Deal resolution in about a day. That is the amount of thought that seemed to go into the document. Please know that I am not criticizing the goals of the resolution or the people who wrote it and support it. However, I expected more from a resolution in the US House of Representatives.
Bees lose in the Green New Deal because the resolution takes us away from the thoughtful discussions needed to solve complex problems. Alison McAfee wrote a great article in the January issue of American Bee Journal discussing how attention grabbing headlines and catchy sound bites are not helping us to develop lasting solutions for bees. (You can check out her blog to read the article.) She points out that it is unrealistic to expect farmers to eliminate use of all pesticides, so what can be done to minimize their negative impacts while still allowing farmers to produce the food the world needs? As we look at the Green New Deal, it is unrealistic to expect American citizens to completely reorganize every facet of their life over the next few decades. However, we could and should be asking what meaningful things can we do to keep the water clean, our forests from burning, and our air clean enough to avoid asthma attacks? Solutions require thoughtful nuanced discussions, and those seem to be in short supply on all sides of the politcal spectrum.
My fear is that the lack of substance in the Green New Deal will cause those who don’t acknowledge climate change and who eschew all environmental regulations to be emboldened. The name calling has already begun on both sides of the argument, and a media that is driven by sensationalism only adds fuel to the metaphorical fire. What is the average citizen beekeeper to do? Here is what I am going to do:
- Read actual source documents (e.g. H. Res. 109) instead of relying on the media to tell me what is in them.
- Research candidates to make sure I am voting based on my values.
- Plant milkweed and other native species beneficial for pollinators.
- Perform as much outreach as possible through my local bee club to teach the community about the importance of pollinators and what we can do to protect them.
- Be mindful of my own consumption and carbon footprint. I can only control myself and not the actions of anyone else.
Along with all of this, I will tend to my bees and dote on them as if they were my pets. I will never take for granted how wonderful it is to be a keeper of bees.