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The Buzz
March 2011

Trouble for Wild Bumblebee

TheBuzzBumblebees, those ace field hands that pollinate apple orchards, berry crops, tomato fields, wildflowers and flowering yard plants, are facing hard times in the United States. Nearly 10 percent of wild bumblebee species have suffered serious declines in numbers and geographic range, according to the first attempt at gauging the health of such populations nationwide.

Research surveying 78,000 specimens across eight species—and correlating reductions in numbers with potential causes—found that four of the species are in decline. Each had significantly lower genetic diversity than the four more robust species. This factor may make them more vulnerable to environmental stresses, including fragmented habitat and the intracellular parasite, Nosema bombi, sometimes present in high numbers in the troubled species.

The bees’ ranges have dropped by as much as 87 percent below their historically greatest extent, much of the decline occurring within the past 20 years. At the same time, the relative abundance of bees as compared with estimates of their known numerical peaks has plunged by as much as 96 percent.

Sydney Cameron, Ph.D., an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, characterizes bumblebees as “incredibly resilient.” Yet, he remarks, “There’s a threshold, and above that threshold? Bang, that’s it. We just don’t know what the thresholds are for these species.” The study is considered an environmental warning and wake-up call.


Source:
The Christian Science

 
Dietary Shift
March 2011

Home Preparation of Fresh Veggies on the Decline

DietaryShiftA new U.S. Department of Agriculture study reports that households headed by older generations spend more money per person on fresh vegetables prepared at home than their younger counterparts. After accounting for income and other demand factors, its Economic Research Service found that households headed by a person born in 1960 spent 66 cents per week less than those with a household head born in 1930. Younger generations continue to spend different amounts in each subsequent age point, with the youngest spending the least.

Because of younger people’s continued reliance on convenience foods, the researchers project that, as they age, they will spend more on fresh grocery veggies than they do now, but when they reach their parent’s current age, they will still spend less on such foods than their parents do now. Several mainstream health advocacy organizations now promote consumption of plant-based foods, aiming to turn this trend around; they include the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University and American Heart Association.

 
Exercise Detox
March 2011

Six Ways to Burn Calories and Clean Out Your System

ExerciseDetoxThere are as many different types of exercise as there are ways to move. Although all types of exercise will help to detoxify your body, some are clearly more beneficial than others. Try one of these today and feel better immediately.

Walk This Way

Generally speaking, aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are the most detoxifying. Of the wide array of choices, walking is hands-down the most popular. It is something almost everyone can do to get a daily dose of healthy detoxification.

 
Backyard Chickens
March 2011

The People’s Choice for Fresh Healthy Eggs

BackyardChickensAs I work in my home office near Boulder, Colorado, I hear a soft, “Cluck-cluck-cluck,” from outside the window. Soon, it will crescendo into a piercing, “Baaaaaaawk,” as the largest of our seven hens—a plump Rhode Island red named Rojo—drops a warm, beige egg into her hay-filled nesting box. When my daughters, ages 8 and 10, return from school, they’ll tromp through the snow to our A-frame coop, fill their basket with a colorful assortment of bluish-green, brown and lavender eggs (some still warm) and skip off to a neighbor’s house to trade them for piggy bank cash. Such is the life of a backyard chicken farmer.

 
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