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How to bee

 

Here at Seedball we are inspired to grow a brighter future. We firmly believe that it is possible to make small changes that can lead to big differences in the world. Every week we are faced with research that confronts us with the reality of the current situation of pollinator species and we are try harder to reverse those trends. What would happen if the next generation were to be faced with a world without pollinators? It's not something that we dare to imagine, but the author Bren Macdibble has explored this scenario in her latest children's book How to Bee, published by Old Barn Books. Here she explains her motivation and research behind the book.

When I set out to write How to Bee, a chapter book for children, I was working with children who were already acutely and painfully aware of the environmental problems happening around them. I set out to show that life can go on after a major environmental catastrophe, however different and hard it may be, and that really focussed the narrative. It also had a curious effect on readers. While children find the main character to be plucky, resourceful, full of hope, adult readers are shocked by the post-bee world setting. I think adults see the main character, Peony, as naïve, and they don't trust her ability to navigate this harsh world the way young readers trust her. And this adult shock is as it should be, because children can't change the world yet, so to terrify them with doomsday scenarios is just unfair.

 

From my research on bee loss, it seems to me that farming is in all sorts of problems. Agricultural businesses push farmers into debt by convincing them they need all sorts of products, and the farmers, in turn, believe they need a high yield business model to pay for it all and stay afloat. That kind of thinking is pushing the land, soil, and nature around farms to breaking point. The thing we most need to care for is the soil, the mycorrhizal activity in the soil that keeps it healthy. This means cutting back on pesticides and fertilisers, farmers spending less, producing less, giving land the time it needs to recover, growing what grows well on the land they own instead of struggling with popular crops, maintaining good ground cover, keeping soil alive and healthy, keeping pollinators alive and healthy.

 

The European Honey Bee has been hit especially hard by pesticides, due to being weakened by viruses carried by mites. They are domesticated bees, and have worked tirelessly alongside English farming practices for centuries. English farming does not work without the European Honey Bee. She has given us so much, I wanted to share her plight.

 

When it comes to farming, high-yield will eventually lead to dead land, and dead pollinators, but of course, if you're a farmer trying to stay afloat right now, trying to meet demands for consumption, how do you find the income to take that step back? How can the future be a priority, when now is a struggle? How can you prioritise bee health over marked and bitten produce that consumers avoid?

 

I have no answers, but I hope How to Bee will get people thinking, and talking, and children will grow up prepared to face and prioritise environmental challenges. It's only by talking about environmental concerns that people begin to see a need for change. People won't talk about a future full of fear and doom, but hopefully they will talk about a heart-warming story of a small plucky girl getting by in a world changed by bee-loss.

 

We think the Seedball community sees the need for change that Bren highlights. We're all contributing to make a difference and together we can ensure that the "small plucky girl getting by" remains an inspirational fictional character, and does not step off the page into the next generation's reality.

You can find How to Bee on bookshelves now!


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How to bee

 

Here at Seedball we are inspired to grow a brighter future. We firmly believe that it is possible to make small changes that can lead to big differences in the world. Every week we are faced with research that confronts us with the reality of the current situation of pollinator species and we are try harder to reverse those trends. What would happen if the next generation were to be faced with a world without pollinators? It's not something that we dare to imagine, but the author Bren Macdibble has explored this scenario in her latest children's book How to Bee, published by Old Barn Books. Here she explains her motivation and research behind the book.

When I set out to write How to Bee, a chapter book for children, I was working with children who were already acutely and painfully aware of the environmental problems happening around them. I set out to show that life can go on after a major environmental catastrophe, however different and hard it may be, and that really focussed the narrative. It also had a curious effect on readers. While children find the main character to be plucky, resourceful, full of hope, adult readers are shocked by the post-bee world setting. I think adults see the main character, Peony, as naïve, and they don't trust her ability to navigate this harsh world the way young readers trust her. And this adult shock is as it should be, because children can't change the world yet, so to terrify them with doomsday scenarios is just unfair.

 

From my research on bee loss, it seems to me that farming is in all sorts of problems. Agricultural businesses push farmers into debt by convincing them they need all sorts of products, and the farmers, in turn, believe they need a high yield business model to pay for it all and stay afloat. That kind of thinking is pushing the land, soil, and nature around farms to breaking point. The thing we most need to care for is the soil, the mycorrhizal activity in the soil that keeps it healthy. This means cutting back on pesticides and fertilisers, farmers spending less, producing less, giving land the time it needs to recover, growing what grows well on the land they own instead of struggling with popular crops, maintaining good ground cover, keeping soil alive and healthy, keeping pollinators alive and healthy.

 

The European Honey Bee has been hit especially hard by pesticides, due to being weakened by viruses carried by mites. They are domesticated bees, and have worked tirelessly alongside English farming practices for centuries. English farming does not work without the European Honey Bee. She has given us so much, I wanted to share her plight.

 

When it comes to farming, high-yield will eventually lead to dead land, and dead pollinators, but of course, if you're a farmer trying to stay afloat right now, trying to meet demands for consumption, how do you find the income to take that step back? How can the future be a priority, when now is a struggle? How can you prioritise bee health over marked and bitten produce that consumers avoid?

 

I have no answers, but I hope How to Bee will get people thinking, and talking, and children will grow up prepared to face and prioritise environmental challenges. It's only by talking about environmental concerns that people begin to see a need for change. People won't talk about a future full of fear and doom, but hopefully they will talk about a heart-warming story of a small plucky girl getting by in a world changed by bee-loss.

 

We think the Seedball community sees the need for change that Bren highlights. We're all contributing to make a difference and together we can ensure that the "small plucky girl getting by" remains an inspirational fictional character, and does not step off the page into the next generation's reality.

You can find How to Bee on bookshelves now!


0 Comments



Post a Comment


Please sign in or create an account to post a comment
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