I called my blog Nature Says Hello, because I thought that is what nature does; flora and fauna says hello.
I was so wrong… I should have called it A Silent Scream For Help instead. However, I guess a positive name for a blog is better?
Yesterday, I noticed again that we have no butterflies in the garden, except from the white cale butterfly. They are everywhere, white spots in the roses and lavender and all the other flowers. There are plenty of bumble bees of all kinds, but hardly any bees. Already in spring when the apple trees blossomed, the usual buzzing of the bees was missing… and it has for some years now.
We have lots of birds in the garden, blackbirds, tits, wrens, finches, robins, pigeons, jays, magpies – but hardly any sparrows.
So what is wrong?
Remember Silent Spring by Rachel Carson?
The 1962 bestseller on how unrestricted use of pesticides ( both insecticides and herbicides) accumulate in the food chain and end up in humans and animals. Rachel Carson was often misinterpreted, she was not against conventional farming, but she pointed out that we should use the chemicals care. However, her input started up a debate which is ongoing.
Recent studies in various countries all show the same; the variety of common song birds and insects – such as butterflies and bees – are decreasing at a fast rate. So fast, that something has to be done now.
The key words are diversity and sustainability. We have simply forgotten that diversity in nature creates the perfect balance for animals and plants. Kilometre after kilometre with uniform crops, corn, potatoes, cereals, does no good for diversity. It is easier to maintain large fields with no hedgerows, however, where can the animals find shelter, hide and rest? Water holes are drained and filled up. Wet meadows and wetlands are being drained to get more land for agriculture, leaving less space for the animals and special flowers and plants are extinct. Tons and tons of pesticides are still sprayed on the crops to kill weed and insects that may minimize crop yields.
More and more farmers are getting it by now… they convert their business from conventional to organic farming instead. However, organic farming is not enough. If you have 25.000 organic chicken in one place, they still put a heavy strain on the soil, polluting the groundwater with their manure. If you have field after field of organic corn, it’s still not diverse. In the end we need to rethink the whole chain. Here sustainability is the important word.
We still have a long way to go. The first steps have been made. In Denmark municipalities are not allowed to use herbicides any more. In my garden I’m not allowed to either. Farmers must have a (at least) 2m fringe along streams, to lakes and water holes. The are strict rules for use of pesticides.
My municipality keeps a lot of its land as meadows. Meaning, they are not maintaining it in any way. The weed can spread as it wants to, giving a small breathing space to animals and insects.
New technology like drones are used to target the areas that need treatment in order to avoid using to much pesticide and fertilizer.
But, it’s all up to us as consumers to be aware of what we want. Buy organic food, to avoid pesticides. Keep some of the weed in a corner of you’re garden. And finally, plant lots flowers full of nectar. Lavender, herbs like oregano, marjoram and thyme, echinacea, lilacs and buddleia also known as the butterfly bush.
The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) in the UK had made a list of flower for the garden. I can only recommend you to read it. It gives a practical overview of which flowers bloom when, meaning you can create an an insect friendly garden which blooms from March to November.
Get the list here.