No matter how small the acts, or how small the actors, everything in our natural world connects, and everything makes a difference.

I spend a lot of time reading to my granddaughters, and I’ve found that there are now many kid books about how to help the Earth (I’ve selected a few at the end of this blog). The frequent story themes tell kids that if they can do important little things every day, they can leave large impacts that will help the Earth.

There are so many little things they can do, such as turning off the water while brushing their teeth, turning off the lights when leaving a room, etc. There are also things that a family can do, such as walking instead of driving cars for short distances, bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, etc. And then there are things that schools can do, such as encouraging kids to read sustainability books, planting gardens, and sponsoring Earth art posters. All of these are small things, but if many people do them it would make a great impact.


One of my favorite heroes coming from small things that make great impacts are pollinators. Pollinators—bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds (not to mention moths, flies, beetles, birds, and bats: Did you know bats are important pollinators too?)—are essential to the reproducing process for many plants. Pollinators, as they search for their next meal (nectar), pick up pollen that then transfers to other flowers along the way. This cross-pollination from pollinators ensures the survival of over 80% of plants, which in turn generates oxygen and produces many of our important foods.

Pollinators are a big deal in agriculture. In the United States alone, pollination results account for $16 B annually, with $12 B attributable solely to the accessibility of honey bees. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. That’s one out of every three bites of food you eat.

Here is just a partial list of crops that depend on pollinators: apples, blueberries, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflowers, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, mustard, onions, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and watermelons.

Yet, many pollinator species are in decline. Bees are in serious decline for many decades despite support from commercial beekeepers. The population of the western monarch has declined up to 97% since the 1980s. There are many natural causes that impact the pollinator decline, such as pathogens and parasites. But there are also many human activities that directly impact on pollinator declines: land-use change, intensive farming techniques, harmful pesticides, nutritional stress, and climate change.

Pollinator declines are already impacting our food supplies. Researchers estimate that insufficient pollination results in a global loss of 3%–5% of fruit, vegetables, and nuts produced every year.

Why Is Huma Concerned About Pollinators?

We don’t produce products that directly impact pollinators, so why are we concerned about pollinator declines?

    1. We are always concerned about all natural processes that involve agriculture.
    2. If there is something that we can do to help improve natural processes related to agriculture, even if there is a little thing, then we need to participate. Just in time for Earth Day this year, we’ve established a pollinator garden at our headquarters. It’s about 100 square-feet and we have planted a variety of flowers so that at least some will be in bloom in every season. Will it alone make a big impact on the Arizona pollinator population? No. But what if every company established a pollinator garden? That would make a difference, and we want to initiate that change!
    3. We want our employees to learn and participate in activities to help bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. And we’d like them to be able to come out on a break and enjoy the natural processes around us.

Huma Garden Sign
Huma Garden Sign

It’s just a small thing, but remember:

No matter how small the acts, nor how small the actors,
Everything in our natural world connects, and everything makes a difference.



Books for Children Helping the Earth

Note: If the title of this blog sounds somehow familiar, I’ve twisted it a bit from a line by Cecil Frances Alexander’s poem, All Things Bright and Beautiful.

About the Author

Larry Cooper

Director, Sustainability & Knowledge Management, Huma, Inc. Lifelong learner, master gardener, rescuer of greyhounds, grandpa. Once served detention for placing ecology flag on top of his high school.

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