Saturday, Jul 30, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Giving a damn

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Today:

A. Bee redux

B. Hopelessness and the Best Magazine Ever

C. Guerrilla Gardening.

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First, observant readers of this blog both of you may notice that I took Sunday s blog entry and turned it into a news story. That was after I started to get calls and emails asking me why I didn t tell the world it was really cell phones causing bee deaths.

And I must apologize, I think, for my tone in the Sunday blog entry. When I went to write the news story, I realized how many hundreds of news organizations had reported that cell phones were killing bees. The stories that debunked the bad conclusion were rare. Very rare. The German publication Spiegel did it best, and I had to quote it in my story since I didn t get a hold of the German researcher who started the whole thing. (I hate to quote other publications, but I was stuck, and Spiegel s material seemed to be confirmed by my conversations with researchers.) Once I saw the flood of cell-phones-kill-bees stories, I thought, Of course people believed this. They were whacked over the head with it.

I should have included a mention of the cell phone theory and its debunking in my original story Sunday.

This morning I got a call from a woman who lives on the East Side. A swarm of honeybees has moved into the walls of her house. Others came back out of the house and nested in a nearby tree. Unaware of the honeybee struggles, she poisoned the ones in the tree. Now she felt bad, and was looking for a way to get the bees out of her house without killing them. I really didn t have much advice, but directed her to call the Lucas County Extension Service in hopes they might be able to direct her to a beekeeper who maybe could help. But, honestly, I have no idea if that will work. I was touched, though, by her regret at her original action, and desire to do the right thing now.

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I think a lot of people want to do the right thing. If you re among them, I strongly urge you to pick up my new very favorite magazine on the entire planet, GOOD. I stumbled upon it this weekend, and was blown away, first by it s design it s elegant, cool, clean then by the content. The magazine s slogan is For people who give a damn.

What a great slogan.

I don t know about you, but when I read environmental stories, and even when I write them, I have to fight a sense of hopelessness.

(Hang on, I do have a point here.) Back in October there was a story in the New York Times Magazine about what was going on in wild elephants in Africa. I had to force myself to read this sad, troubling story. Regardless of whether one accepts the conclusion of the researchers quoted in this article that young elephants are growing violent as a result of the slaughter of elephant elders, which is destroying natural hierarchies it painted a harrowing picture.

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GOOD magazine seems designed to counteract this hopeless by highlighting solutions, focusing on people doing the right thing. In just the first few pages I read about urban gardening guerrillas, stealthily planting flowers and landscaping to improve city green spaces. I read about a deep-fried fuel business collecting fryer oil from New York City restaurants and selling it as green fuel. I read about some practical and economical uses of energy-efficient LED lighting. OK, none of the stories told me how to save elephants, but hey, I'll take combating global warming as an excellent place to start.

Each item was sharp and well-written.

I was totally hooked.

So pick it up, OK?

Oh, and, anyone for a little urban guerrilla gardening? I m game if you are.

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