Aid the Pollinators (Sue & Nic, 29th Jan 2020)

This is the letter to the editor Nic and I submitted on 29th January. Originally it was about 450 words long and had 7 suggestions. Cutting it down to size meant that some of the fine detail was lost but hopefully the piece is clearer and more to the point. And useful!

Climate change is such a huge issue, affecting so many aspects of life, that it can be hard to think about what we can do as individuals to actually make a difference. Here’s one idea that homeowners could try:

change how you maintain your yard and landscaping to support pollinators.

With changing weather patterns and rising temperatures many pollinators are having a hard time adapting. The shift in weather cues can cause plant and pollinator reproductive cycles to become out of sync. Consequently, food may not be available when the pollinators expect it, and plants may see less pollination. These stressors can lead to pollinators being more vulnerable to disease and predation. As much as one third of human food production is dependent on pollinators and a reduction in their numbers could have serious implications for food cost and availability.

What can we do to help?

  1. Plant native plants as these have evolved along with native pollinators and are most beneficial to them.

  2. Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides as these can harm pollinators.

  3. Have a slightly less aggressive fall clear up and leave a little leaf litter and some plants standing to provide spots where pollinators can take shelter for the winter.

  4. Let the idea of a perfect European turf lawn be a thing of the past. Don’t fight of every invader and let a multitude of plants live side by side in your lawn. A weed is only a weed if you label it so.

If you are interested in finding out about other things you can do, why not join your neighbours at the West Central MN Climate Network, meeting the first Saturday of the month at 10.30am at the Morris Public Library. If we work together we can help mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce the risks faced by future generations.

Susan Gilbert
Nic McPhee