Sarah Smuts-Kennedy: For the Love of Bees. Can Auckland NZ become the safest city on Earth for bees?

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Sarah Smuts-Kennedy: For the Love of Bees. Can Auckland NZ become the safest city on Earth for bees?

I came away from this interview convinced that Sarah has the focus and enthusiasm to take this ideal of a ‘city of bees’ to fruition.

This was that provided Aucklanders and their elected representatives can become ‘ecologically conscious’ at this critical time of changing climate and insect decline. If the vision articulated by Sarah can be picked up by other cities across the whole of New Zealand, maybe - just maybe - New Zealand can hold its head up high as being a ‘clean green nation.’ A big ask? Yes, but the groundswell and grassroots support are growing far more as we realise the seriousness of our changing planet and biosphere.

The Love of Bee’s project - is an artwork and a framework for inviting people to engage in new possibilities - it transforms. Like something that may be considered a problem and is then rendered into something that we can co-create, re-arrange and re-design together. So the project people, use bees as a magnet - it works up our hearts and invites people to imagine that Auckland is the safest city on earth for bees. This is also where they can learn practical skills around the life cycle of bees and the flora that supports bees.

This is to make it easier for bees to be able to fly the 3 - 5 ks in search of nectar, etc. Especially the space that they travel in, has to be as safe as possible - and Sarah’s team, helps people learn regenerative organic practices so as to give the bees the best chance - to pollinate flowers to enable the highest proportion possible, of flower fertilisation.

Urban Farming - food growing in the city

With land that has been obtained at 527 Symonds St, Auckland city, along with a growing community of dedicated friends, they are focussing on the possibilities of 'urban farming' - regenerative organic urban farming and also creating strategies to deal with our climate change obligations.

Sarah talks about being given this small section of land to use in Central City, Symond's St, to experiment with, but for only a year - however as an artwork as well the brief that they are working with, they are looking to develop what they call climate change ready infrastructure. She believes that local urban farms and local living 'compost hubs' in unified projects gives them the capacity to develop 10 climate change ready values - which include carbon sequestration - biodiversity - wellbeing - water retention capacities - heat sinks - food security - local jobs - the transformation of food scraps into a useful resource - air filtration - social cohesion and - optimism.

So organic regenerative urban farms across Auckland, is an idea that is being seeded as a way forward and that with education and enthusiasm this will help make Auckland become far more bee friendly.

City Insect pollination (bees) is an imperative

Where cities were focused on infrastructure of roads and buildings, more cities today are wanting people friendly spaces and flowering trees, shrubs and flowers are becoming more common place overseas, where conscious decision making is benevolently changing the environment. In Japan, they are looking at bees as a means to pollinate flowers that are fragrant and that in Tokyo and other cities, they have focussed on this so that flower scents and fragrances enable people to feel more at ease and happier. So much, that the crime rate actually falls - due to the sense of peace and contentment within that larger community https://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal-3---tokyo-case-study.html

That there was measurable outcome of less violence - even if they may not call it resonance - but something happened, that softened the vibes.

Need for more flowers across cities and urban areas.

Sarah talks about the lack of flowers in cities and even here in NZ, this has a detrimental effect on bees - because with no nectar and or pollen - survival becomes very challenging - also in Spring you can have many bees and flowers but as Autumn comes with still many bees - but not enough flowers then going into Winter … survival becomes a problem. Note some apiaries are fed sugar during winter to keep the hive alive.

She says that for a bee colony to survive it needs a staggering number of flowers - to supply the needs of the bee colony being vital and flourishing.

One teaspoon of honey is equal to 12 bee lives of flying, foraging collecting and storing.

Honey is not only for the bees sustenance but also used so as to make wax. Seven ounces of honey is needed to produce one ounce of wax. There is a good amount of wax needed for the bees to make the hexagonal structure in frames so as to store honey and incubate the pupae - baby bees.

By planting more flowers that flower all year around is very important, but quality too is important and this impels us to look at our horticulture, agriculture and also our weed control strategies.

Herbicide Sprays are decimating the Insect Kingdom

Simply put, we have pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides - in our ecosystem now. That we have become so addicted to them and that we have forgotten how to operate without them, that we have on many levels completely degraded the ecosystem. Hard core herbicides like glyphosate, which is now banned in France - is taking its toll on the natural world.

Compost and Humus = Healthy Soil and Healthy Plants.

Sarah, talks about healthy vital plants and that if we are giving them the best of soil, and humus, water and light etc - you do not need to concern yourself with pests. If you have unhealthy plants - the pests can pick up the 'distress signals' from the unhealthy plant and so will attack and eat them. Listen as Sarah takes us on a journey into how the plant does life, in orchestrating a homeostatic relationship with the microflora. Especially how the plants infra red light flashes signalling to pests that it is unhealthy and that its defences are weak - enticing the insect pests to come and eat and or lay their eggs on the leaf. Which means that this plant now a goner.

Listen …

In New Zealand there are 28 native bees - yes this is true
Dr Ngaire Hart PHD nee in Auckland is mentioned for her work on native bees
https://www.fortheloveofbees.co.nz/ngairehart

NZ Farms that are Growing Soil and Humus

Christine Jones PhD from Australia is recommended by Sarah -
https://www.ourplanet.org/greenplanetfm/dr-christine-jones-regenerative-land-management-biological-farming-sequestering-atmospheric-c02

Agrisea bio stimulants https://agrisea.co.nz/industries/dairy/pasture-nutrition/

Hear about a farming couple near Taupo over a 3-4 year period they used bio stimulants - changed their grazing practices and grew their soils by a number of inches - then Christine returned and she had them do another test and then introduced multiple plants into their paddocks - so they drilled in 18 different plant species into their worst paddock and 5 months later Christine was on that paddock again. They then dug down in numerous areas of their paddocks and to their surprise they had built up the soil by one and half spade depths - in 5 months!

Because with all these different plant species added to the paddock - (along with Agrisea’s ocean mineral products) - like in rainforest - diversity builds resilience

Also mentioned is Ernest Gotsch - Syntropic farming in Brazil - and this fantastic 2 minute video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stABAx82TbY

Sarah talks about Climate change as now the 'evolutionary driver' for us as a humanity to come together and collaborate and cooperate to initiate the much needed changes to curtail all of our wasteful ways - that have been happening over a very broad spectrum.

She talked about projects become silo’ed and end up factionalised. That we have to think and visualise holistically and actively engage in ways of conflict resolution and fine innovative methods to find ways to bring opposing points of view to reconcile - to work toward a win-win situation - especially for the sake of children and those to come.

What I intuitively got from this interview is that Sarah is inclusive - there is room for everyone - we can not go on following the same patterns - stopping silofication of projects is an imperative - we have much more to agree on than to disagree on. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Desilofication

Big Changes Needed.

She wants big changes in how the city does business - that there are now many volunteers working as ‘a labour of love’ - who need to be trained up to be able to be paid for running very focused composting and urban farms - listen for the fullness of this.

Shared Opportunity

That instead of one or two business running everything that it needs to be a shared opportunity across the whole the city - where participants are empowered to initiate the much needed changes for Auckland to be a world leading city that is 'ecologically conscious.' That our strategies need to be diversified - just like soil systems need to be diversified - this is where the whole impetus is heading - especially if we want to change the paradigm before climate change and insect losses become beyond critical. We need to act now

Sarah acknowledges Richard Main, Trish Allen and Kay Baxter - for holding the vision of a healthy organic, regenerative future.

Sarah said that she is called the 'bee lady' - but she says she really is the biology lady ….

A wonderful interview ...

Sarah Smuts-Kennedy

https://www.fortheloveofbees.co.nz/

For the Love of Bees is a concept that helps seemingly unrelated ecological projects become one cohesive action via the lens of bees.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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