Audience is the aspect I have most struggled with with working on CCD. Should it be beekeepers, big agricultural firms, honey consumers, homeowners, food buyers, young families, city dwellers….
My initial ideas were aimed at high earners/ city dwellers, those who could probably be most convinced to buy organic, and those who probably already had the least impact on CCD. The honey auction in particular spoke to those people and thus, in my mind, had limited scope for extension/dissemination.
When I think about the ‘typical American’, one stereotype is clearest in my mind:
- 2.4 children
- 4 x 4 car
- Pickett fence
Although this is wildly out of date and over simplified, those ‘lawn owners’ make up a significant part of suburban America.
Lawns are interesting in a number of ways (not all linked to CCD, but very much linked to biodiversity and the ecological health of our land):
- Water use
- Mono culture
- Carbon capture
- Neighborhood psyche
They are a flag-bearer for the Anthropocene:
Look How Beautiful and Ordered Humans Can Make Nature!
They operate at the nexus of ecological and social/cultural values.
Look How Overgrown Mr. Bloggs’ Lawn Is… I Bet Vermin Live In Their Garden.
Another reason for starting to research and think about lawns and gardens in relation to CCD is that I am a firm believer that the majority of people will not change their behavior unless there is tangible benefit to themselves or their families. No one will care about bees because of the longer term risks (difficult to quantity or imagine) to biodiversity and food production. People care about their homes and their families, and may be persuaded to change their practices if they can be convinced:
- It provides a health benefit to them/their family
- It looks good
- It is easy
- It is aspirational
Could my project be to convince people that less cultivated, more bio-diverse gardens could in fact be what they want? And in turn, what impact could that have on the pollination system?