Pity the BeeKeeper

Of the 100 crops that account for 90% of the food eaten by people; 71% are pollinated by bees…So notes the NY Times in its recent article on beekeepers. But, as I have noted before, bees are having a very hard time of it lately…and as noted before, many are dying each year. Indeed, the article notes that 44% died as of April 2016 compared to 17% on a bad year in the past.

beekeeperWhat does that mean? Well, besides the cost of food rising, it means that something is killing the very creatures that our food supply relies upon. And more importantly, no one really knows why this is happening.

There is strong evidence that pesticides are the culprit, but other causes are also possible.

Now, let me say that the thrust of this article is that the largest beekeepers have a good deal of work to help them financially. However, it is not always about the money (the President’s personal views notwithstanding).

We need to carefully examine the issues around bee death.

More importantly, each of us should do something that helps bees do well. That means that we can improve our own backyards to enhance bee habitat. Look into this if you will and do your small part.

Read the full article:
A Bee Mogul Confronts the Crisis in His Field
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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Water, a Terrible Thing To Waste

In a series of articles with part one just being issued by the New York Times, we see what happens when people build in a manner that works against natural systems rather than working with natural systems. It is painfully obvious that Mexico City is a city on the verge of collapse, both figuratively and physically because of water; or should I say a lack of water.

water

The City was built on and over ancient wetlands and acquires. But rather than learn from those who built the city, The Aztecs, who, in their wisdom built their city in such a way so as to work with the water in the area, the Mexican government allowed and is still allowing for the destruction of acquires, paving of recharge areas, the overuse of water and the pollution of that same water.

Here we have a major city that still emits raw sewerage into open air canals.

This article is a good lesson on what happens when development is allowed to proceed unchecked, with no or ineffectual government regulation.

So, new Administration…and you know who I mean, do you really want to dismantle our environmental regulations? Well, you probably do, but may I just opine…that is dumb…

Read the full article:
Climate change is threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point.
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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Nuclear Power Pull Out by Toshiba; A Proof that we need to be careful what we wish for.

With Toshiba/Westinghouse pulling out of the nuclear power plant market, we see further proof about the economic failure of this mode of power generation. To be sure, there are a number of factors that contributed to this event, from Fukushima to regulations as they are applied in the U.S.

This is not about reducing regulatory standards. But the pull out may trigger the law of unintended consequences.

As noted, in the U.S., nuclear power plants must meet stringent safety standards. This is clearly a good thing.

These standards are effectively exported by the large companies that design and build such plants in the U.S. But with this pull out, state owned plants and companies (clearly a bad idea) can and may very well lower their standards for safety in certain parts of the world. That is clearly a bad thing.

Any ideas?

Read the full article:
The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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Is it Recycling or Scavenging?

The article in Craines NY Business outlines a young entrepreneur who is getting rich on the labor of the less fortunate while he is probably undermining years of recycling education in the City of New York. There are really two questions here.

The first is that the company its relying on people scavenging (allegedly) through the unseparated garbage of certain commercial and apartment complexes to find redeemable cans and bottles.

gray market recycling operationOn its face, there are problems here. The fact that people are not separating the materials in the first place is a violation of City law. The fact that he is offering property owners a service that essentially says don’t do more to separate your recyclables as required by law is probably a violation of City Law. The fact that he is operating a gray market recycling operation without a Business Integrity Commission License is certainly a violation of the spirit of the law.

I am all for doing what can be done to enhance recycling in all locations. Recycling creates jobs and in many programs helps to employ low skilled laborers in meaningful employment while they perform a valuable service.

Unfortunately, this program relies on people to whom this “entrepreneur” is not offering any job benefits…wages, health benefits,etc…On whose earnings he does not pay any taxes as an employer is required to do. His “employees” make no contributions to their future social security or medicare payments and the company makes limited contributions to the local economy.

In many poor countries scavengers scour landfills and garbage dumps for recyclable materials and sell them to people like this gentleman. Is this really how we want to have recycling work in this country?

Let’s think again.

Read the full article:
Conrad Cutler built an empire on recycling cans. But he’s putting a dent in city revenue

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