It’s no secret that the number of bees around the world is decreasing. Bees are simply leaving their hives and never coming back. This is called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Scientists aren’t 100% sure why it’s happening, but it spells big trouble for humans. Many of the foods humans eat depend on bees for pollination.
Meet New York City resident Andrew Cote: a man with a mission. Andrew doesn’t let the surrounding concrete jungle stop him from keeping bees. He keeps over 75 hives throughout the city, mostly on rooftops. In fact, he’s even made a business out of it, servicing restaurants and hotels, like the Waldorf Astoria. At this famous hotel, Andrew helps them keep 360,000 honeybees in six hives on their 20th-floor rooftop. The honey is served to customers in their food, tea, and even a special honey-laced beer.
Andrew believes that the bee problem needs to be attacked on all fronts, so we shouldn’t let our urban environment prevent us from cultivating bees. Bees and humans can co-exist peacefully in the big city. In an interview with CNN, Andrew says, “Urban Beekeeping is like crack. It’s an obsession and there’s no turning back.”
Andrew doesn’t stop with New York City. He’s also head of Bees without Borders. This organization works to create or revive bee colonies all over the world, in places like Africa, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia. At least once a year, he and his team travel to a remote location and share their beekeeping knowledge with the local community. This helps bees make a comeback in areas where they are disappearing.
Another person who’s generating lots of buzz is Chris Burley. He’s attacking the bee problem with a plan to grow what bees love the most: wildflowers. To do this, he started a company called Seedles, which makes pellets that look like candies. However, these bright little balls are actually made from compost, clay, and wildflower seeds.
All you need to do is walk around and throw the pellets on the ground wherever you want. That’s it. When it rains, they dissolve into the soil and wildflowers will grow. Buy a bunch of Seedles, take a stroll through the city, and you could be the next Johnny Appleseed of the bee world, growing flowers that bees need to survive.
Complex problems need creative solutions. Without people like Andrew and Chris working to save the bees, our dinner plates could look a whole lot less appetizing in the years to come.