Apparently it’s Don’t Step On a Bee Day, which I must confess that I hadn’t heard of before. The idea of the day is to raise awareness of the fall in bee numbers as the result Colony Collapse Disorder, changing agricultural practices, parasites and other factors. A fall in the number of bees can have widespread implications – honeybees are responsible for the pollination of a third of the world’s food crops. Lose the bees and we’re in serious trouble, which is why we have Don’t Step On A Bee Day and why we’re being encouraged to carry out small local practices to preserve the future of apian-kind.
So let’s think about this from a church point of view. Certainly in the UK, many of our buildings are surrounded by gardens, fields or graveyards – to the extent that they’ve been recognised as the biodiversity equivalent of Noah’s Arks, the last refuge for many of the country’s species of plants and trees. This gives us the opportunity to support local conservation efforts, and with it a chance to let the more green-fingered members of our congregations to use their gifts. Nature can be mission.
So if you’ve got a nearby farm shop or honey producer, maybe give them some of your customer rather than the big supermarkets. If you’ve got a patch of land, maybe plant some wild, bee-friendly flowers and see what happens, or just let a corner of your land grow wild and see what happens. Maybe take the Sunday School kids outside and make a bee hotel – and buddy up with the church maintenance team if you need their help. Ask the people who look after the church garden or the churchyard to be careful about what chemicals and pesticides they might be using. Pop over to Oxfam Unwrapped and buy some beekeeping equipment for a community in Africa.
Climate change is a huge, world-shaping issue – so much so that we can feel powerless in the face of it, or deny it even happens. But small, simple local actions also help protect nature and improve our environment. We don’t always have to think big – sometimes thinking small, say the size of a honeybee, is the way to go.