Of Bees, Pees, and the B.B.B.B. 

The Bees Are Upon Us
Surely you remember my plea for leagalized beekeeping in New York City, written just as the wee bees were themselves waking up from their winter hibernation (I would like to think, but don't have the proper apiaryological knowledge). To recap, for those who were themselves hibernating, beekeeping is currently illegal in the five boroughs, on the grounds that bees are potentially dangerous: the law, hopelessly outdated and overprotective, ignores the fact that we need bees to pollinate our food, and beekeeping is a great, high-value small-scale agricultural project. Well, the marvelous people spearheading the legal-bee movement, Just Food, have put together a "Pollinator Week" from June 22 to June 28th.

Attend the Beekeeper's Ball on June 22nd, on the South Street Seaport's Water Taxi Beach: honey-infused drinks and snacks will be served, and awards awarded for bee and bee-keeper costumes. If that's not your style, on Thursday June 24th a group of restaurants will be serving up New York Nectar, a collection of special local honey-infused dishes and menus at some of the city's coolest restaurants. Jimmy's 43, Txikito, Rose Water in Brooklyn, and Wave Hill Cafe, among others, will participate. For the complete listings, see JustFood.org.

Finally, the sweetness comes to the Union Square Greenmarket, with the all-day Honey Fest on June 26th. Local honey will be available (it cures allergies, I swear) and apiarists, and hopefully a few bees, will be in attendance. Get out and show your support, and stock up on some golden goodness. Don't forget that honey is great for the skin, tastes fantastic in coffee as well as tea, and adds an awful lot to savory dishes. Buy a big jar, and thank me later.

The Pee Stays in the Bowl
I recently happened upon a funny clip of Cameron Diaz on The Tonight Show. Apparently La Diaz is an avid environmentalist, and she does all kinds of "kooky" things to live a greener life. Jay Leno got her to admit, in front of millions, that she doesn't always flush her toilet: "If it's yellow, leave it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" was Cameron's take on the "golden" rule (I've always heard "let it mellow"...) Kind of funny to hear coming out of the mouth of a woman wearing Chanel, but I'll take it!

In any case, I was reminded that summer is coming, and with it, almost inevitably, come water shortages. More than half of your water use is probably going down the toilet, so a little "mellowing" can go a long way toward reducing your water consumption. Give it a try — it won't kill you, and it will save thousands of gallons a year. Go the extra mile and get a bucket or two to catch your shower water as you bathe, and use that to flush your toilet, and you'll save tens of thousands of gallons a year.

The B.B.B.B.
Last issue I wrote about the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, which was supposed to go into effect on the first of June, collecting a five-cent deposit on water bottles. As I discussed, there were many critics of the bill, and it excluded any "water" drinks with sugar in them, a strange and unfair exclusion. Well, the bill WAS postponed, until April of next year, on the grounds that requirements to label the bottles were unconstitutional.

What does that mean for us? Well, the State of New York would have gotten an estimated $115 million from its share of unclaimed bottle deposits, and the homeless and others who collect containers (and there are a lot of them out there) would have gotten another income stream. Collection centers, which employ people, had planned on taking on more workers, but now will not. And of course, our overtaxed waste-disposal system will have to manage several billion bottles over the next year.

Call or write your state representative, and tell them to get cracking — we've waited 25 years for an expanded bottle bill, and it's crazy that we now have to wait 11 more months.

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