“It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”
This article was first published on Oxfam’s 3Things website on 23 September 2013. It was written for Oxfam’s GROW campaign, which creates awareness of the changes needed to fix the broken food system. “Sustain the Planet” is the final of six steps to creating a better food system. Read my previous GROW method blogs here.
Three lessons we can learn from bees to fix the broken food system.
“One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees.” – Leo Tolstoy
Although Australia is the last continent free of these destroyers, we’re nevertheless seeing a reduction in bee numbers and it may be only a matter of time before Varroas hit our shores.
Luckily local beekeeper, Doug Purdie, understood the necessity of protecting local bee populations when he co-founded The Urban Beehive to support the honeybees in pollinating food and maintaining biodiversity. They’re the guys who put beehives in backyards, community gardens and rooftops across the city.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Doug and some of his girls (the bees) in Bondi’s community garden to chat about what we can do to keep our bees buzzing. What stuck out about our chat were the lessons bees can teach us to successfully fix the broken food system, rather than just what we can do for them. Here are three.
1. Share the love: unite
Doug says that the bees’ “whole social structure… is fascinating.” They’re social creatures who support biodiversity and make a necessary impact on our world through pollination. Although we cannot pollinate, we can take a lesson or two from bees in adapting, swarming together and cooperating with members of our society to help out, beyond our hive, to sustain the planet, part of which means sharing our space with bees. For anyone who doesn’t want to share the love, don’t be afraid. Doug says that bees aren’t interested in attacking you unless you’re considered a threat. It’s all about mutual respect
2. Communicate and work as a team
Bees work as a team to get the job done right. Every bee has their role – even the drones do – and our survival, in both the process of fixing the broken food system and the creation of greater food security, must come hand in hand with good communication and team work. Let’s do the waggle dance!
3. Work efficiently
You’ve heard of the saying: make hay while the sun shines! That’s just what working bees have to do. They have short, busy lives (in perfectly organised colonies, doing critically important work), only living about six to seven weeks, sometimes up to six months. Imagine if our lives were that short? Then we might start making haste. There’s no better time than the present to create a better food future (and, possibly, to also stop using bad clichés).
Starting to stick
With the growing popularity of urban beekeeping, the awareness of the issues facing bees and the increased interest in sustainability and localism, Doug says “people are starting to get it.” Who doesn’t love honey, anyway! Do you?
Get involved in protecting our honeybees
To protect our beautiful bees, there are four things we can do:
At the risk of repeating myself, why not ‘bee’ proactive with this important species and stay calm, not alarmed. While it’s not all good news, it’s not catastrophic and we have just learned four important ways we can all help. Bees are a vital part of our world, so let’s keep them buzzing!
Where do your local urban beekeepers have their hives?
This is a hard blog to write with my heart clenching in my chest, and not because anything’s wrong – thank you for asking – but because of two simple words, ‘Organ Donation’. They make my innards squirm.
I am not against it, by the way, but we’re talking about a confronting topic, aren’t we? You’ve felt it, I know!
On 23 February, I trudged through the puddles of Parramatta into ICE for the FilmLife filmmaking workshop (designed to create awareness of organ and tissue donation through creativity). With the above mindset, you bet I felt uneasy, no thanks to the rain. I kept asking myself, Do I want to donate my organs? Wouldn’t that be weird?
During the workshop, we spoke with people directly involved with organ and tissue donation, including recipients like Max, whose story gave me hope.
Before his transplant, Max led an interesting but inactive life. Now years after his transplant, his life has changed completely. He dropped his corporate job and inactive lifestyle and took up exercise, including contact sports and the Transplant Games, completing 5km runs and winning 9 gold medals. He works as a personal trainer and speaks at events like FilmLife to inspire others to live it up and spread more positivity into the world. Max believes in a ‘positive ripple effect’ that occurs through organ transplantation, spreading more gratitude for life around the place. He wants to do everything he can to give back, because he is “so lucky to be here,” he says.
Sure, organ donation is weird in some way, but for Max, receiving a new liver gave him his life back and better than before, and it’s not just benefited him, it’s also influenced others like myself.
There’s some good meat inside me, I’m sure. Fit organs that live a healthy life in the body of a lass who’s positive about life, so why wouldn’t I want to give them away? Perhaps I do. Decisions aren’t entirely my forte.
It’s confronting on many levels. However, if it were to come down to my own loved one being 1 of 1600 people on the waiting list for an organ, I’d drop my own organs in a second if it would save their life.
So for now, I’ll think on it.
Even before making any sort of decision, I managed to start the conversation with my parents, which went a little like this:
– ‘Old girl, she’ll probably die soon.’ Mum said, looking at Bronte.
– ‘Should we ask her if she wants to donate her organs?’ I laughed.
– Dad piped up, ‘It’d have to be her stomach!’*
You mightn’t guess that we were talking about my dog’s impending mortality, which ended up with the question: ‘But seriously though, would you want to donate your organs, Julie?’
Realising I’d be dead anyway, it would be nice for my innards to help up to 10 people have a new lease of life. I replied, ‘Perhaps I might. Would you?’
That’s all for now,
*Just joshing! The stomach is not on the list. In Australia, you can donate the following organs: heart, kidney, lungs, and pancreas; and the following tissues: heart valves and pericardium, corneal and eye tissue, bone and related musculoskeletal tissue and skin.
For interest, see The Conversation’s Organ Donation Topic, here.
“Make your wish count. Discover, decide and discuss organ and tissue donation.”