Honeybees are a vital component to California’s $6.4 billion almond business, but the health of the bees has raised concern in the agriculture industry. In another installment of our series on “The almond boom,” an editorial pointed out that everyone has a stake in the health of honeybees. We asked: What should the public do to make the landscape safer for this most vital link in the food chain?
Water is the real gold
Re “Bees need allies beyond nut farms” (Editorial, March 22): One ounce of gold is worth about $1,200. One almond equals 128 fluid ounces of H2O.
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In the ravenous 19th-century search for gold, mountains crumbled under the blast of giant water cannons, sending torrents of detritus down rivers. The debris raised river beds, then buried Valley farms and orchards under muck until their owners successfully sued in federal court.
It was both the beginning of the end of hydraulic mining and a step forward in water and environmental regulation. With some irony, industrial farming today, dwarfing the value of gold’s legacy, poses similar risks to California. Modern monoculture is likewise a form of mining, wherein something is taken from the land, as with gold extraction, and not put back, except for those things toxic.
California gold? It was always the water.
Spencer P. Le Gate, Sacramento
Aimee Pfaff – Plant more native, flowering, drought-tolerant plants; eliminate pesticides.
Alan Kendrick – I have been letting everything grow wild and natural in my yard for five years, and the bees are back in droves.
Kriszti Meszaros Mendonca – We need to stop growing almonds! It takes 1 gallon of water to grow one single almond.
Love the bees – we have four hives – but we have to stop growing these insane water-intensive crops in the desert.