Nature keeps us alive. It provides us with oxygen, water, food, medicine, and materials to build our homes. Melting ice caps, earthquakes, bushfires, locust infestations, and more natural disasters are threatening our planet Earth every day. And it’s our fault. But we can fix it.

What is happening to Mother Nature?

Climate change is the main threat to our environment as we know it. Climate change is the ongoing rise of the Earth’s average temperature. It is not a new phenomenon, but human activity has accelerated it. Massive urbanisation, deforestation, and large scale agriculture for more than a century and a half have taken their toll on our environment.

According to NASA, Earth’s temperature has risen by 0.9°C.The number is small but carries great repercussions.

The rise in temperature causes the ice caps to melt which leads to a rise in water levels to a catastrophic degree. It also leads to uncontrollable wildfires similar to what Australia witnessed at the end of 2019 through 2020.

Rapid urbanisation is not helping either. Lebanon’s urbanisation is at 88.6% in 2020 and projected to become 90% in 2030. Cities are unable to contain the number of people moving and so city limits expand to take over forests or lands previously used for agriculture. 

Poor urban planning and deforestation result in air pollution. A study led by AUB (American University of Beirut) in 2016 concluded that 93% of Beirut’s population was exposed to high levels of air pollution. By 2011, Beirut had already exceeded the WHO (World Health Organization) standards. 

How are we affected?

Our physical health is affected due to polluted water, polluted environment, non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases), unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.

Our mental health is also affected due to the lack of green spaces, clean air, and overpopulation. Some of the disorders are severe mental disorders, depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, crime, family disintegration, and alienation.

How can we fix the damage?

Think small. As an individual, you can impact your close environment and reduce your ecological footprint with tiny steps instead of huge ones. Not convinced? Take a look at bees.

Bees are creatures so small that sometimes we don’t even notice them flying past us. These creatures, however, are responsible for complex, interconnected ecosystems allowing the survival of insects, animals, plants and humans. They are nature’s most trusted agents.

Bees pollinate our plants and trees. They are vital for the preservation of our local biodiversity. According to data gathered by the United Nations, a third of all food production in the world relies on bees to pollinate them. Thank a bee if you have eaten an apple or an orange today.

Yet, we are not giving them the attention they deserve to survive. Because of deforestation and urbanization, the bees are losing their food sources and their habitats. We are losing a chance at good physical and mental health by eating healthy products and breathing clean air.

How can we embrace nature into our lives?

To embrace nature, you have to think like a bee! Bees are small and act on a small scale, but have a great impact on their surroundings.

The simple solution would be planting more bee-friendly plants and flowers. As you know, in Lebanon, over-exploitation of lands has played an active role in the loss of honeybee natural habitats throughout the country.

The solution with the greatest impact is the Moving Hive program.

The Moving Hive is a sustainable green program that started in 2016 with the collaboration of the French Embassy in Lebanon.

Its main objective is to bring back bees into the cities and the wilderness. Its second objective is to introduce people to nature and help them connect with it.

The program rapidly grew to include partners and hosts including governmental institutions, universities, schools, museums, businesses, as well as private gardens and rooftops.

How does it work?

We will first visit and inspect the site you wish to dedicate to the bees. It will be inspected based on feasibility and security. If all is well and up to standards, we will then place a minimum of 2 hives there. Two hives will be able to grant 12kgs of honey per year.

You do not have to worry about taking care of the bees yourself. Our expert beekeepers will visit you bi-weekly to maintain the hives. All of the work will be executed in front of you for complete transparency.

When it is time, we will harvest and extract the honey also in your presence. We move on to filling the jars and you will receive your yield on the spot immediately after harvest.

Every step mentioned will be done with your supervision for full transparency. In case you cannot be present on the day of the visit, the beekeeper assigned to you will keep you updated with all the information.

Personal benefits for you and your family

You will be producing your own, unique honey first and foremost. Each hive yields around 6kgs minimum of honey per year. This honey will be a raw one: pure, unaltered natural honey. This type of honey is loaded with nutritional and medicinal properties. Its shelf life is for two years.

Since flora is distinctive in every location, that will reflect in the honey you harvest from your hive: in taste, colour and medicinal properties. To celebrate this uniqueness, you can design personal labels for the jars and postcards to send to family and friends. It’s a great gift idea for any occasion!

By hosting the hives at your desired location, you would be reducing CO2 emissions into the air and food miles. Food miles represent the distance food will have to travel to finally reach you, the consumer.You will be reducing toxic emissions and increasing the wildlife in the area.

Your garden will thank you. Due to the presence of bees and their beautiful work, you may notice significant positive changes in your vegetable or flower garden. You would not believe the effect honeybees can have on the fruit and vegetable yield or abundance of flowers. What could be more peaceful than watching a garden where bees forage between delicate flowers?

If you don’t own a garden, that’s no problem at all. “Urban” bees can thrive the same as country bees do. If the right amount of plants is within flight distance, urban bees will produce even more honey than their rural counterparts. You wouldn’t lose your connection to nature in any way.

Ultimately, you would be fighting against climate change with a sustainable initiative by providing healthy honey for your family and saving the bees.

To quote Albert Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

The Moving Hive is an opportunity to learn and be immersed in nature through bees. A small good act can have huge impacts on the future.

And in honour of World Bee day on May 20th, don’t forget to celebrate with some honey!