For a while there, it seemed like every time I turned on the news, someone was talking about cutting the pork. A lot of people were quite worked up over projects in the budget that seemed unnecessary. So it caught my attention when I learned that England has recently allotted $9 million to funding an initiative to revive the bee population. It turns out that something called Colony Collapse Disorder is causing bees to die off in record numbers.
OK, I thought. What does this mean? Fewer kids get stung, and Honey Combs cereal has to change its name to High-Fructose Corn Syrup Combs (which is more truthful anyway). Who cares? But as I read on, I learned that bees help to produce one-third of the food we eat through pollination. Basically, without bees, we’d be very hungry.
A few days later, I was reading Nature magazine and discovered that bats are incredibly beneficial to humans. They also help to spread seeds that grow crops. Even vampire bats can be useful, as their saliva may turn out to be a medicine for stroke patients.
I was completely inspired. What other animals are we dependent on that we don’t know much about? Could I prove that money for helping the environment wasn’t pork at all, but rather integral to our survival on this planet?
Well, I don’t know how persuasive I’d be in Washington, D.C., but I did find that in addition to bats and bees, worms, fish and butterflies provide immense value to humans and the environment. And so I wrote “5 Animals We Need to Survive.” Not only did I learn how to make a worm compost for my kitchen, but I’m thinking of emailing my congressperson.