Green Column: It’s good to bee part of something fantastic

Margaret Kneen of Isle of Man Friends of the Earth shows Jenn Mordue how to help wild bees

Margaret Kneen of Isle of Man Friends of the Earth shows Jenn Mordue how to help wild bees

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Isle of Man Friends of the Earth’s Cat Turner gave advice and information about pesticides and fertilisers at the Community Farm recent open day...

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It was a treat to be asked to join up with the Children’s Centre’s Community Farm last weekend .

It was an opportunity to mix with all sorts of like-minded people, and to let the Manx public know what issues are vexing or enthusing us ‘greenies’.

The farm’s open day ran from 10.30am until around 3.30pm and was chockablock with people either wanting to share their ideas for more sustainable living – or wanting to find out more.

From the Green Centre, we had master composter Phil Corlett, who was able to show people how they could ensure their food and gardening ‘waste’ could feed the soil and help produce more food.

On the Isle of Man Friends of the Earth / Ecovannin stand, organic enthusiast Margaret Kneen and I told people about why it’s really important that people think carefully about the types of pesticides and fertilisers they use.

The reasoning behind this is that several such chemical products are known to affect wild bees and other important pollinators, so that not only do they die off – they also can’t provide humankind with the important help they give us in delivering food to our tables.

But why is this happening? Well, last year the UK government allowed two currently banned neonicotinoid pesticides (known for short as ‘neonics’) to be used on oilseed rape crops in parts of England, despite the objection from over half a million people.

And yet, the National Farmers’ Union’s predictions of widespread crop losses without the use of neonics, which were a big part of the UK government’s decision, have proved completely unfounded. In fact, average oil seed rape crop yields were up last year and that’s beside the fact that a whole range of alternative, cost-effective and bee-friendly ways of controlling pests are available.

The science of the threat to bees and other pollinators from pesticides containing dangerous neonicotinoids is now overwhelming.

If you’re into reading up on such things, you can find out more at: https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/threat-bees-from-neonicotinoid-pesticides-93919.pdf.

So we were really glad to take part in such an environmentally-friendly day, and one which was full of so much fun.

There were animals, home-made veggie soup, great music, facepainting and much, much more. But the very best part of it was being involved with a group who want to live life in a way that supports others, and fosters sustainable lifestyles.

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