With my projects to start an apartment garden and check the effects of microwaved water on plants, I have become fascinated with how things grow. It is really motivating to watch each day as something slowly grows from a tiny, dark seed into a large, vibrantly colored plant – your appreciation of the food you eat growing right along with it.
Because this all happens indoors, I am using leafy greens that don’t require pollination. But this vital process has been on my mind lately after Japanese scientists discovered serious genetic mutations in butterflies following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Like many countries, Japan has been suffering from colony collapse disorder (CCD), leading to a dramatic drop in bee numbers, and this could be a real blow to the recovery of the area – both environmentally and economically.
It may be difficult to imagine but pollination and, basically the whole ecosystem, relies heavily on birds, bees, butterflies, bats, bugs, etc. The situation doesn’t get much publicity but it is a big deal – particularly with the farming of GMO crops, a suspected cause of CCD, increasing so rapidly.
Please take five minutes to watch The Beauty of Pollination by award-winning film maker Louie Schwartzberg (above). It features stunning close-up photography of the process, with amazingly lush color and definition. The video is actually taken from his film Wings of Life, inspired by the sudden disappearance of honey bees. It is also included in the TED talk below, in which he explains his awe of the whole thing. You can find out more about Schwartzberg on his Web site (link below).