It is a well-known fact that the global bee population is rapidly declining. In 2014, the U.S. lost 40% of commercial bee colonies, and in 2016 there were more colonies with symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder than the previous year, according to a USDA survey.
To combat the foraging issues, cereal company Cheerios, which is owned by General Mills and whose mascot is a bee, decided to send out free packets of wildflower seeds to any customer who wants them. The company removed its Buzz the Bee mascot from boxes and has declared 2017 the year to ‘Bring Back the Bees.’
While seemingly a nice gesture, the company may not have carefully thought out all of the consequences. Planting these seeds in some areas would be irresponsible and could do more harm than good.
The seeds that Cheerios is providing are:
Forget-Me-Not (two types), wallflower, poppy (California orange and corn), coneflower, aster (China and New England), coreopsis (two types), flax, baby blue-eyes, gilia, Indian blanket, tidy-tips, sweet alyssum, hyssop, daisy, and bergamot.
Many of these wildflowers are not suitable for every U.S. state. Some are invasive, and are even banned in certain areas. Other plants are not native to the U.S. at all, and are a bad match for the local bee population (you can use this database to know before you plant).
For example, forget-me-not is banned in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and California poppy is labeled as an invasive plant is southeastern states.
Ecologist Kathryn Turner explained the situation to LifeHacker:
“No plant is inherently ‘bad’, but many species can and have caused a great deal of damage when they are introduced into locations outside of their native range. Invasive species can out-compete the natives they encounter, they can take up all the space and use up all the resources, they can spread disease, and cause other physical changes to their new homes, all of which can have detrimental effects on native species, and on humans.
It doesn’t happen with every plant and in every location, and scientists (like me!) are working now to figure out why that is, how to predict what will cause a problem, how to manage or prevent invasions.”
Turner’s statement has set off a nationwide controversy, forcing General Mills to defend itself.
General Mills claims the plants are not invasive
The company said in a statement the plant seeds, of which 1.5 billion were given out across the country, “were selected for their flowers which produce nectar and pollen that are attractive to bees and other pollinators.” They also said that the plants are not considered invasive.
But Turner argued that depending on where you live, they may well be. Environmental writer Beth Skwarecki of Lifehacker wondered about their choice of seeds. Did the company purposely cut corners?
“What’s odd is that Cheerios partnered with Xerces, an organization dedicated to supporting pollinators, but didn’t use their locally customized, ecologically friendly seed mixes,” she wrote. “If you’d like to plant a wildflower garden, maybe start with those instead.”
She does praise Cheerios for their commitment to planting bee habitats near farmland. But anyone deciding to plant them near the roadside or in fields needs to be fully aware of how they might impact the ecosystem, experts warn.
“This isn’t something you should go spread along the roadside. I think that can be pretty irresponsible,” said James Newburn, assistant director of the University of Tennessee gardens, to an NBC affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“What’s a native plant in one area might not be native to another area and what’s invasive in one location may not be appropriate to put in a seed packet,” said John Skinner of the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture.
At any rate, the seeds will not cause a complete plant-pocalypse, so those who don’t hear about the repercussions and do plant the seeds will not exactly ruin nature. However, for those of us who know better, there are far better ways to help the bees without supporting General Mills.
General Mills’ Sordid Pro-GMO History
While the company’s commitment to making Cheerios GMO free is admirable, the product still recently tested positive for residues of glyphosate, a “probable human carcinogen” (according to the World Health Organization), at surprisingly high levels that may cause harm to organs and other sensitive areas in the human body if lab tests on animals are any indication.
The company also has reportedly bought oats from fields that utilize pesticides linked to causing serious harm to bee populations (see the video below for more).
Big opponent of GMO labeling
General Mills is also a big-time opponent of mandatory GMO labeling in the United States, spending over $3 million dollars to prevent it. Even the company’s CEO, Ken Powell, has previously been a huge supporter of the chemical-intensive agricultural model that has been decimating the bees: he once lobbied the FDA for Monsanto and other companies’ lab engineered creations to be classified as “natural.”
Cheerios has become a healthier product since the removal of GMOs, there’s no question.
But it’s fair to question whether a company that has been so vehemently supportive of bee-killing institutions in the past has done its due diligence in its latest quest to win back the public and restore its healthy image.
Better Ways You Can Help Save the Bees
Stop using pesticides and plants treated neonicotinoids, which are related to deaths of many pollinating insects. There are natural alternatives to fight pests, such as neem oil extract.
Make a bee house for a place to raise young bees.
Plant a vegetable garden and let a few bolt. When leafy vegetables bolt, or go to seed, it helps the bees stock up on food before the winter.
Make a bee bath. Especially on hot days, water is sometimes hard to find.
Buy local honey. Since the commercial bee population has been unstable, supporting the local beekeepers is a good way to make sure that there are more bee colonies. And local honey is healthier!
Buy organic as much as possible. Organic agriculture does not allow the use of toxic commercial pesticides that are harming the bees.
Become a backyard beekeeper.
Sign a petition to ban neonicotinoids. (Just below 2K of signatures away from the 150,000 goal as of this article).
Tell everyone you know to do the same!
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
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Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
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Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.