Monday, March 28, 2011

You Can't Spell L-I-F-E Without Bee(s)

Last night, W and I watched a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. I am a big believer and fan of Maher (my apologies to my right-wing readers) and find that I am consistently agreeing with what he has to say. His celebrity guest, on this particular episode, was actress Ellen Page. Instead of talking about the obvious politics of the day (which they did, prior to her joining the panel), Page talked about bees.

As the narrator of the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees, Page and Maher spoke quietly and seriously about the fact that our bees are dying in mass quantites, and at an alarming rate. They're pesky stinging bugs, so why should we care? Well, here's why. We cannot live without bees. Maher read a quote by Einstein to illustrate the importance of this bee issue: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

This is our problem. We have to worry about our economy, and our jobs, and all the things that we deal with daily. Our environment, as both Maher and Page illustrated, is part of all of that. Why we think that the enviornment can survive until we become more stable in our personal lives is both ignorant and narcissistic. The pesticides we use on our food and our lawns are killing the bees. (Maher even suggests (in his blog post linked below) that cell phone use is a huge factor in the death and destruction of the bee population.) Without bees, there will be an absence of food. We are destroying our environment, living with plastic everything, choosing to use plastic grocery bags instead of reusable ones, and we wonder why the earth is lashing back at us. We are killing our planet.

There is an easy fix, though. To make immediate, easy changes, simply start at home. Only buy organic. If you choose to spend the extra few dollars on food that is grown without the use of pesticides, organic companies will thrive and farmers that aren't going organic will stop using pesticides. Do not eat foods that have GMOs. Save money on your lawn care and cancel your Chem-lawn, or whatever company you pay to spray your lawn with toxic chemicals. Buy organic fertilizer and put it down yourself.  The poisons you put on your grass to kill your weeds, ticks, and everything, is also killing the bees. Those ticks will still come anyway, once the pesticide is washed away, but the environment has already been harmed. Having a clover-filled grass isn't the worst thing in the world. A life without bees, however, just may be.

Gardeners can plant a bee-friendly garden. Plant flowers like hyacinth, calendula, echinacea, cosmos, and wild lilac. Bee balm is an obvious, and fabulous, choice too. Read Plant a Bee Garden by the Honey Bee Conservancy.

Read Maher's post on bees from back in 2007 (which is still current, but perhaps more pressing today) called The Birds, the Bees, and Earth Day.

You can purchase a copy of the DVD Vanishing of the Bees for home screening by clicking here, or to host a public screening (for free or as a fundraiser), see the options provided here.

For more information about bees, visit

Tiffany Palisi is a freelance writer and the author of the book, "Mama's World: Essays From the Inside Out." She has interviewed actresses, designers, and entertainers; her favorites include Cynthia Rowley, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, and children's singer Dan Zanes. She is a contributing writer for Mountain Lakes Living magazine. Palisi lives with her family in New Jersey.


  1. Anonymous is going to share with you that her parents were "bee keepers" during a span of her teenage years and local honey is the best for those of us with seasonal allergies too :)

  2. What? OMG who are you, Anon? I know that this is true. I was told that you eat a spoonful a day, and after some months, you become immune to seasonal allergies because you are actually building up a tolerance by eating them.

    I get my honey at the farm stand in Montville every summer, but Landi Simone in Boonton Twp, who is a beekeeper, has a log cabin shed where she sells all her honey products. Now that's as local as it gets!

  3. Anonymous is..... drum roll please. Big KT. And NO I did not participate and was very embarrassed by this activity on our property. Appreciate it now that I am an adult , kinda.

  4. Big KT. That is AWESOME! You should be proud...

  5. I saw a whole special about this a bit back. It is very sad and alarming! Here's to saving the Bees, Buzzzzzzzz!

  6. Yes, was it the movie, Vanishing of the Bees?