Save the world? Plant a sunflower?
Sure! Here's why:
1. Every plant that has a flower - from a zucchini to a rose - requires a bee, bat, hummingbird, or butterfly to carry their pollen to another flower in order to create fruit.
2. Bees, bats, hummingbirds, and butterflies are all pollinators. All pollinators in the United States are currently dying off due to a pesticide which is weakening their immune system making each species susceptible to what are usually minor illnesses. (It would be like every person you know dying over something small like the common cold.)
3. Without pollinators, every vegetable, fruit, and some grains will cease to exist. It's about that simple.
So whether you like it or not, your life and health depend on pollinators work to create the food which you eat.
What's really the problem?
There are a few pesticides, you may know them as Bayer 2-1 Systemic Rose and Flower Care, Complete Insect Killer for Soil and Turf or Fruit, Citrus, and Vegetable Insect Control, cause the pesticide to go through the system of the plant. The pesticide then gets into the plant's pollen and nectar. So a well meaning hummingbird will come along and take a bill full of the pesticide infused nectar. You can imagine that pesticide and nectar don't go well together.
Bats eats bugs infused with the pesticide. Butterflies drink nectar and eat pollen filled with pesticide. And honeybees, mason bees, and the friendly Bumble Bee take the pesticide laced pollen back to their homes where they feed it to their off spring. This causes their off spring to become deformed and susceptible to various illnesses.
Bees, bats, butterflies, and hummingbirds are dying in the United States. In fact, Bumble Bees are expected to disappear from the planet forever in the next ten years.
I'm confident you can imagine why this situation is allowed to continue. Rather than go into those politics here, I'd rather focus on what we can do about it. Because there is something you can do for the bees, bats, hummingbirds, and butterflies of this world.
What can you do about this situation?
You can plant a sunflower.
Why a sunflower?
Sunflowers are incredibly hardy plants. They don't need much water and will grow in even the most infertile soil. They create sunflower seeds which I think
we can all agree are fantastic.
Sunflowers are an amazing source of pollen and nectar. Once a sunflower has bloomed, it's like a supermarket for bats, bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds. Nectar (carbohydrate) over here. Pollen (protein) over there. That's pretty cool!
By providing these pollinators with lots of pesticide free food, you flood their homes with wholesome food. In return, they will provide you with wholesome food. Now isn't that cool?
Here's what you do:
1. Grab a kid or find the kid inside you.
2. Get a Dixie cup or a cardboard egg carton or a yogurt container or... well, you get the picture.
3. Fill the container with dirt.
4. Stick a seed into the dirt.
5. Add water and put it in a warm, sunny window.
Give it a few days, maybe a week, and a plant will appear! This is the part that kids really love! Take your newly sprouted sunflower and stick it into a dirt patch in your yard or that vacant lot down the street. It's that easy.
Another thing you can do is join the Guerrilla Sunflower movement. This is a movement to plant every bare patch of ground with sunflowers to help support the pollinators. May 1, 2012 is Guerrilla Sunflower Day. On this day, little kids and big kids get together to plant neglected areas of their neighborhood. (If you live in Denver, shoot me an email. We're going to be planting here!) Places like vacant lots or alley are perfect places to plant a sunflower. Just find a patch of earth, stick the seed in the soil, give it a little water to get going, and watch. With in 6-8 week, you'll have more flowers than you know what to do with!
Where do you get the seeds?
That's easy! In order to support the pollinators, we're giving away packets of sunflower seeds. All we ask is that you take photos of planting the seeds and of the plants when they grow. We'll stick the photos onto our Pinterest page and website. Click the button below and grab some sunflower seeds.
Save the planet! Plant a sunflower!