Why Environmental Education Failed…and Other Stories

I’m so happy that my little sage plant in my front yard seems to be blooming this year! Not because I’m just going to enjoy the aroma and sight of purplish flowers. Because it has hidden stories to tell me, my family, my neighbors – but also my readers.

“Mom, what does that bee on the sage have on the backs of its hind legs?” – it’s pollen, collected from flowers, and she carries it carefully to her hive. Pollen is the source of protein for bees. She can’t raise their little children, the grubs, without it.

Unfortunately, such links are generally lacking in environmental education. Formal education in schools usually does not include bees or live plants. This may be the hidden reason why we still waste everything on this extraordinary rock in which we live.

Long story short, it made me wonder how local consumption, nutrition, and customs can be changed through a more meaningful education system. I had to complete a bachelor’s degree in agriculture to learn the substitution properties of pollen – that it replaces meat. Pollen contains a lot of protein, zero toxins (which is not the case with meat), iron and vitamins. It is a huge force for better health. Not bad for a little “dust in the wind” of flowers.

Meat fasting in the lead up to Easter can be exhausting on the body. Finding high-protein foods is mandatory for you and your family to carry on with your daily routine – and pollen is a stimulant. But be careful! Only fresh, chilled pollen keeps all the nutrients “alive”. Tablets, capsules and other stuff with pollen “don’t cut it”. And don’t “overdo it”! One spoonful a day is enough. Pollen helps fight constipation, but too much of it can cause diarrhea or pain in the digestive system. You can enjoy it plain, in spring on salads as a vinaigrette or mixed with a spoonful of honey on a loaf of bread with butter, for a healthy dessert! Do not cook it, as many of its nutrients are heat sensitive.

It is true that fresh pollen is expensive, especially in countries where monocultures lack natural habitats. But after all, it’s a matter of perspective. What better way to build a healthy long-term system – spend your money wisely on specialty foods? Or pay even more for doctor visits? As a friend told me, “the money you have is not always your choice – and you will always need more, but spending wisely is your choice”.

Every day is a new lesson learned. Your footprint on our planet, whether environmental, social or otherwise, is your choice. Your life, too!

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a doctorate in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in botany-biology.

*The above is not medical advice but simple suggestions for improving your diet. Before using any herbs, you should consult your doctor, especially those who have medical conditions, are pregnant, or are under 6 years old.