This weekend a fantastic new book arrived in the mail: Dave Goulson’s A Buzz in the Meadow. Just the cover alone made me gasp, it’s so beautiful! The illustrations of insects are stunning, and I knew right away that the buzz in this book would be coming from more than bees alone. Goulson relates his experiences of the last 10 years of the ‘meadow’ which he created in rural France, a place where bumblebees and the myriad insects and animals that form the ecology of such an environment could thrive.
I enjoy Goulson’s writing very much – he’s both entertaining and exceedingly informative. The first book of his I read was A Sting in the Tale (2006) that explored his life long love of the natural world, (especially bumblebees). No need to add that Goulson has fantastic credentials in entomology and that he has spear-headed the conservation movement to save bumblebees in the UK.
While I was enjoying the first forays into A Buzz in the Meadow, I received one of the regular email updates from the David Suzuki Foundation. This particularly distressing article was about a new pesticide awaiting immanent approval for use in Canada: flupyradifurone (davidsuzuki.org; Oct 22, What’s the Flup? Bee-ware, by Lisa Lee). Not satisfied with the controversial neonicotinoids already widely in use on our agricultural lands, it seems we are adding yet another toxic poison to the already over-stressed environment. What chance do bees and other pollinators have? What hope is there for a healthy future of our planet?
In the Preface to his new book, Goulson states that his purpose in writing is to make us see our world “with new eyes.” He argues that if we could pay close attention to the richness of the natural world, that then perhaps we would learn to be better stewards of this planet.
I realize that agriculture and economies are fused, I realize that the issues we face are not simple ones, that we cannot simply stop everything detrimental at once, or shift the paradigm completely, but we have to start somewhere to make changes, and I am grateful to people like David Goulson who single-handedly help us to see, help us to value, help us to save what we have.