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Monday, April 21, 2008

Cause roses really smell like....

There's a lot of good old-fashioned hullabaloo about on the now-ever-more mainstream topics of climate change and environmental responsibility.

Movie screen and big big politicos will try to convince you that the tides are rising and the end is nigh, whilst so-called "rational" right-leaning scientists will then try to convince you that the world is not heating up, the ice caps aren't melting, our smokestacks are only doing good belching out dollars for the economy, and even worse, this whole shebang about our Mother Earth's sickness is actually one massive conspiracy to bring you further under their control.

Check out this piece on a recent study by the US National Science Foundation which details the effects of air-borne pollutants from such emissions as car exhausts on the scents of flowers, and the potentially disastrous effects to our natural ecosystems (and to a lesser extent, to our own ability to enjoy one of Krsna's best creations).

Why flowers have lost their scent

Pollution is stifling the fragrance of plants and preventing bees from pollinating them – endangering one of the most essential cycles of nature, writes Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean


Researchers say that pollution is dramatically cutting the distance travelled by the scent of flowers

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Pollution is dulling the scent of flowers and impeding some of the most basic processes of nature, disrupting insect life and imperilling food supplies, a new study suggests.

The potentially hugely significant research – funded by the blue-chip US National Science Foundation – has found that gases mainly formed from the emissions of car exhausts prevent flowers from attracting bees and other insects in order to pollinate them. And the scientists who have conducted the study fear that insects' ability to repel enemies and attract mates may also be impeded.

The researchers – at the University of Virginia – say that pollution is dramatically cutting the distance travelled by the scent of flowers. Professor Jose Fuentes, who led the study, said: "Scent molecules produced by flowers in a less polluted environment could travel for roughly 1,000 to 1,200 metres. But today they may travel only 200 to 300 metres. This makes it increasingly difficult for bees and other insects to locate the flowers."

The researchers – who worked on the scent given off by snapdragons – found that the molecules are volatile, and quickly bond with pollutants such as ozone and nitrate radicals, mainly formed from vehicle emissions. This chemically alters the molecules so that they no longer smell like flowers. A vicious cycle is therefore set up where insects struggle to get enough food and the plants do not get pollinated enough to proliferate.

Already bees – which pollinate most of the world's crops – are in unprecedented decline in Britain and across much of the globe. At least a quarter of America's 2.5 million honey bee colonies have been mysteriously wiped out by colony collapse disorder (CCD), where hives are found suddenly deserted.

The crisis has now spread to Europe. Politicians insist that CCD has not yet been found in Britain, but the insects have been declining here too, and the agriculture minister Lord Rooker has warned that "the honey bee population could be wiped out in 10 years".

The researchers do not believe that they have found the cause of CCD, but say that pollution is making life more difficult for bees and other insects in many ways."

To have your say on this or any other issue visit

We could go on all day about whether climate change is happening because of us or the Sun or whether it's happening at all. The fact is that we, in our ever-present irresponsibility and greed that is part of the frail human condition under the influence of maya, do cause pollution of our external environment, and that this pollution has damaging and disastrous effects.

We may get too caught up debating the big picture to notice the actual changes occurring in our nearby flowerbeds and bee-hives. As always, the solution is to act local, grow local, eat local. The source of our real prosperity is not only the Lord in our heart, but it is our neighbor and the land we share, where the cycles of greed and exploitation are broken by real honest communication and hard work.

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