I'd be interested to know why almonds (and avocados) are usually highlighted here. Are other flowering crops typically grown in more diverse environments?
This to explain why you see almonds growing essentially in dirt. Other flowers would outcompete.
Personally I suspect there are plenty of plants that don’t overlap much with almond flowering that you could use.
It’s remarkable what California almond industry has achieved. It’s also unsustainable and harmful to bees.
In Europe it has become common to seed a headland around crops that is bug friendly, for one example. There are financial incentives for this in the subsidy too.
Anderson Almonds clearly thinks differently and has none of the issues, but makes less money per acre so that would not interest the big growers. Maybe someday only Anderson will have almonds to sell...
fro bees to sruvive winter its
that will supply the full spring to fall diet for bees
I put it in my father's garden every year as farmers have killed all that by the roadside
Googling it brings up this thread and your comment as the top hit...
But consumers are used to pouring it from a carton. Consumer education is so essential.
They were all uprooted and replaced by cultivars that are dwarf and early yielding. Two reasons: the root stock takes care of resistance to certain soil disease and secondly harvest.
Almonds are harvested by mechanical ‘shakers’. Giant ‘arms’ that shake the tree and then vaccum the fallen nuts.
So what we need is uniform height dwarf trees that are disease resistant and are spaced optimally for equipment and machinery for spraying, banding, harvesting etc.
You have to think of these commercial orchards as open air factory assembly lines. This isn’t nature. This is factories without safety and environmental rules to follow. Because there is no OSHA for bees.
It’s really a mess. Google ‘Resnicks’ and water in California.
Ok: here is one..there are so many other articles https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/08/lynda-stewar...
Its something I have posted here on HN before.. it’s really complicated. Short answer: we are not out of water scarcity.
If everyone is insistent that the drought is still continuing, can someone please point me to some (current) data that indicates it?
 : https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/california
 : https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonito...
>A few years back, number crunchers at the California Energy Commission tried to add up how much electrical power (and other forms of energy) goes into using water in California. The bottom line number they came up with: 19%. That is, nearly a fifth of all the power generated in California — as well as huge quantities of natural gas and diesel fuel consumed in the state — goes into water-related uses.
Irrigation is a CO2 emitter - especially when water is transported all the way from the Colorado River to California farms.
> become irreversibly contaminated
Well if you're spraying pesticides and fertilisers the water is likely being contaminated.
Also: remember that while water is part of a natural cycle, aquifers are used up and don’t get replenished.
For example, Texas's Edwards Aquifer, near San Antonio, has a large recharge zone.
Luckily there are some promising developments on this front. Research efforts led by Paul Stamets  have developed an extract derived from mushrooms that, when fed to the bee colonies, have been shown to drastically reduce DWV and Lake Sinai virus.
Ok, lets make an almond tree that doesn't need bee's.
Now we'll have less bee keepers, since they will lose the work they are doing, and less bees.
Tomorrows article will be about bee collapses and how that matters.
Nothing in the article points to the almond process that's killing bees. It implies other activities in California are responsible perhaps we need to look there.
If they are trying to make a claim a bees life matters, then why does it matter over a grasshopper that's also killed by the pesticides?
Pesticides are used for all kinds of crops across the state, but the almond, at 35m lb a year, is doused with greater absolute quantities than any other. One of the most widely applied pesticides is the herbicide glyphosate (AKA Roundup), which is a staple of large-scale almond growers and has been shown to be lethal to bees as well as cause cancer in humans. (The maker, Bayer-owned Monsanto, denies the cancer link when people use Roundup at the prescribed dosage. So far this year three US courts have found in favour of glyphosate users who developed forms of lymphoma; thousands more cases are pending.)
On top of the threat of pesticides, almond pollination is uniquely demanding for bees because colonies are aroused from winter dormancy about one to two months earlier than is natural. The sheer quantity of hives required far exceeds that of other crops – apples, America’s second-largest pollination crop, use only one-tenth the number of bees. And the bees are concentrated in one geographic region at the same time, exponentially increasing the risk of spreading sickness.
Maybe they meant it's lethal to bees if you drop the bottle on one.
This bee originated from Africa or Asia, before it got domesticated.
Something to think about in an arid region.
If those animals were tortured your wouldn't expect them to approach us almost like pets would do and generally behave as if they liked us.
Edit: added "that exists"
Also, FWIW since I grew up there's been introduced a number of regulations to improve animal welfare so I expect it to be better today that it used to be.
But, you know, if you assign human ethics to animals, there's relatively little we do to animals that's less than abhorrent. Pets are okay to a significant degree. But just about everything else falls out the window if you start to consider the idea that animals may be sentient and have thoughts, feelings and emotions the way that humans do.
I guess what I'm saying that in an ideal world I'd be a vegan, but for now it's challenging enough to go through life eating everything nature has turned out to make possible. Nature is absolutely cruel (well, doesn't care at least), and humanity is just another part of it.
Furthermore, it's unclear how your argument is fixed at the human/non-human boundary. Nature is cruel intraspecies as well, so your line of thinking also challenges the notion that slavery and race- or clan-based oppression is wrong.
But that the world isn't ready to make that moral judgement yet, because the alternatives to meat and animal products aren't convenient enough. We like to consider morality absolute, but it's strongly affected by a society's requirements.
As a side note, vegans probably have a more sound moral judgement than the rest of us.
There have obviously been cultures that considered slavery and various forms of oppression morally right, but I don't think my argument states that this is okay; quite the opposite.
Whoa! That's what is call generalisation... On the other hand diet had nothing to do with moral, it's all about health! None of the extremes are good, our body still have the hunter-gatherer digestion system
The unsettling conclusion would be to ignore ethics for convenience.
The problem is over population. We have far surpassed carrying capacity and you can’t feed the billions with humane animal food. Especially when everyone thinks dairy and almonds should be cheap and available to all. Add capitalism on top of it as gluttonous consumerism thrives in a world burdened by overpopulation..when people don’t consider that resources are limited and having excessive progeny is akin to stealing shared resources from the commons, there is no polite way to point it out to them except to ask them to procreate responsibly. Each according to their means. But even better 1/2 surviving child/ person for long term comfortable survival of our species. Less than optimal: 1 surviving child per person for long term bare maintainence of our species.
It's not at all a challenge for an individual any more except in certain areas (e.g. northern Norway).
In most major cities vegan food is everywhere. In some countries McDonalds has vegan stuff for christ's sake. We arrived.
It's about as much of a challenge as putting a differently coloured shirt on in the morning. Of course, you have to want that colour first.
If you don't care, that's fine, but this shifty "oh but we're not ready", "falls out of the window" nonsense doesn't really come across well at all. Who are you trying to convince?
It is obviously less convenient to be a vegan than to be omnivorous because, at the very least, you actually have to think about what you eat. Both from a purely pragmatic perspective ("does this product contain any animal products?") and wrt. healthy nutrition.
It is practical to do this, but it's not convenient. And that makes a big difference in a society where time and attention is at a premium. Pragmatically, there needs to be a big shift in attitudes, probably prompted by the trivial availability of ingredients equivalent to the main classes of animal products, before the moral view that exploitation of animals is immoral will become mainstream.
I strongly disagree that it's not convenient.
By that line of argument making any active choice at all is "not convenient".
You specifically call out nutrition as an example. You can pretty much literally directly switch out meat for substitute meat.
It's not convenient to say, cycle 30km to work instead of driving, without making major life changes. It takes substantially more time, changes the way in which errands are done, etc.
Buying a different thing from the supermarket and cooking it is trivial. If anything eating meat is more faff because the risk of food poisoning is way higher if you e.g. cook chicken badly.
I don't like coffee so I tend to drink tea. Is that inconvenient? It makes no sense to me as a concept; even if it is (it's really not), who cares? I don't want the coffee?
And then killing the children. And doing that again and again.
(It’s not a cow running towards a yodeling Swiss milkmaid)
[..] The “rape rack” is a narrow, chute-like device in which female cows are restrained while they undergo a process the dairy industry euphemistically refers to as “artificial insemination.” During artificial insemination (AI), a dairy worker inserts one of his arms into the rectum of a restrained cow and, with his other arm, inserts a rod-like device called an Al gun into her vagina. The Al gun, which contains bull semen, is pushed in further until it reaches the cervix (the entrance to the uterus). The semen is then injected into the uterus.[..]
IIRC cows can feel postpartum depression, so it makes sense that this would be torture. But if we did this to bacteria (maybe even bees), the moral dilemma seems to disappear.
You might say it is voluntarily but I know that isn't the entire truth and I'm tempted to say as my socialist friend that slavery is still slavery even if it is wage slavery and the slave got to take responsibility for a whole lot more than they used to like feeding themselves, choosing a prtner in life and making sure they have a place to live.
The OP was referring to "torturing" cows for milk, and you are referring to "torturing" women with respect to maternity leave.
What is your definition of "torture"?
Well-off women with good jobs get a few months of paid leave (at most); poorer women with crappy jobs do not get paid leave, just a right to get their job back after 12 weeks of unpaid leave most of them can’t afford to take.
*Hotly-debated because my friends (married, with well-paying jobs they really like) got varying amounts of pressure from their extended families and social circles not to work.
My comment was just about the article's characterization of almond milk drinkers. I wonder who would benefit from demonizing one of the few alternatives to cow's milk?
Oats aren't animals that produce milk for their offspring.
The propensity to lie in marketing is why there are rules against such behaviour in many jurisdictions. For example, in the US the term "ice cream" is reserved for frozen dairy desserts with a minimum fat content of 10%. Any less and you can't use the word "ice cream".
Similarly, in the EU one would have to call the abomination you call "oat milk", oat drink or something similar, since "milk" is a protected denomination reserved only for mammary secretions.
I've bought almond milk and oat milk in the the UK, which is still the EU for a couple of weeks.
> words are supposed to mean things
What doesn't take a ton of resources to produce while still being nutritious? What's unethical about taking natural resources to produce food in the first place? Nature is all about eating itself, perpetually.
> You cannot live without bees in the world.
That's a myth.
Absolutely? Nothing. Relatively? Just about anything but animals and nuts.
Per gram of protein, nuts require more water than even beef:
Also, water in and of itself isn't an exhaustible resource. If it becomes too expensive, water-hungry foods like almonds will simply price themselves out of the market.
Freshwater, on the other hand.
> If it becomes too expensive, water-hungry foods like almonds will simply price themselves out of the market.
This macroeconomic argument hasn't played well. I've heard people say that carbon-based fuels will price themselves out if externalities become too severe. The end game is brimksmanship, and macroeconomic reasoning says its fine to deprive a local poor population of drinking water if local businesses can make greater profits selling almonds.
Nobody I know drinks almond milk. We drink oat milk. The best manufacturer of oat replacement products for dairy is from this region of Sweden, Oatly. They make oat drinks, creams and ice cream.
Personally at 35 I've stopped drinking milk altogether because it's a drink for juveniles. So I only use oat milk replacement in cooking.
When we went to restaurants, children ordered milk to drink, but an adult never would.
Milk was fine to put in your coffee or tea, but not to drink a cup of it. Milk was fine to use with cereal or to cook with, but not to drink plain.
I do not doubt your perspective at all; however, there are definitely at least parts of America where milk is not for adults to drink. My recent ancestors were dairy farmers in the upper midwest. I cannot think of a single time my parents or grandparents drank milk straight up. I won't say it never happened. It could just be my faulty memory. But if beer or coffee or juice was available, pretty much every adult would drink those. Even juice was pretty iffy. Juice for breakfast maybe. Any other time, and it was a child's drink as well.
Obviously, this is just one anecdote. Don't take it for data.
Having also lived in Germany and now Sweden, I will say that I believe milk is not often drunk plain by adults in either of these places.
Perhaps someone in the restaurant business could say how often adults order milk compared with children.
It goes in cereal, mashed potatoes, cakes etc as an ingredient.
Porridge is about the most adult breakfast I can think of.
Americans are so obsessed with milk that the mere thought of not drinking it is seen as abnormal and weird
That’s a pretty juvenile point of view, milk isn’t even particularly good for you
Simply refuting that milk is (only) for children proves obsession.
I think the parent comment to yours was uncouth, boisterous, and silly. I don't think his point necessarily was.
To roll that individual into 'American Obsession' is extraordinarily silly.
All I can find to say : "European superiority complex".
We individuals have different opinions from one another, over here in the colonies, to the surprise of many.
Well, it's not like the healthiness of foods is what guides the average American. With that said, I think it's not particularly relevant if anything is good for your or not, since a lot of what and how we eat is driven by culture, and not rooted into any underlying science or reason - e.g. three meals a day, cereal in the morning, milk for strong bones and so on. So yeah, drinking milk in the US is just a part of culture now, and I am convinced that all countries have similar quirks.
point me to the national culture that prioritizes food healthiness. Given that 'Americans' are so obviously not prioritizing that (apparently?), i'd like to see the opposite country, one where every individual prioritizes the health consequences of each and every meal.
Extra credit for countries that eat healthy from imported food, and not just coincidentally healthy due to their local crops and harvests enforcing it as the cheaper and plentiful option.
I won't hold my breath.
Lots of anti-American sentiment around here. It's too bad that I seem to be the only one in this thread who thinks that these broad national generalizations of identity are actually hugely bigoted diatribe that has no real connection to the reality that we live in..
Guaranteed if I said something like "Germans all do.." i'd be flagged in minutes. I don't do that because 1) such statements are almost always false and 2) it's disrespectful and outside of what can happen in actual civil discourse.
All I ask : Let's try to keep in mind that these big bad nations are actually full of individuals, all with different ideas and concepts of how to live our lives.
Out of OECD/Western countries, the USA has the highest BMI and obesity rates.
> point me to the national culture that prioritizes food healthiness
You are strawmanning here. I never claimed that there is such a thing as a culture that prioritizes food health, nor did I claim that the US is the opposite of that. But if you want examples at the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty, most notably Japan. There are European countries that are tackling the obesity problem more successfully than others, such at the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, France. For example, the Netherlands has made it illegal for fast food chains to be with a certain distance of schools.
I think this may be misleading.
If you look at obesity rates, the US is an outlier, and around 38% compared to the UK at around 28% (from 2015, I think).
But if you look at overweight rates, the US is pretty close to average. Germany, Canada, the Netherlands all seem to have a slightly higher frequency of overweight people.
I don't know why this is, but it seems like if the difference is in the number of more extreme individuals, then the cultural explanations don't make obvious sense.
Page 30 of http://www.oecd.org/sdd/37964873.pdf
I don't even drink it, but I'm not sure I can think of a single food that I would say is "for juveniles", especially one that I stopped consuming for that reason. Bizarrely elitist attitude.
I don't think it would be obviously wrong to characterize the US like that. Certainly I remember milk being a standard thing kind of pushed on you with school lunches, and I think I've heard that it has to do with the government wanting to support dairy farmers - but I think they say it's to ensure enough calcium or whatever.
There are millions of people in the US who are lactose intolerant, I'm sure, as well. I would say it's rare enough to see an adult drinking milk that I can't recall the last time.
Japanese references to "butter" aren't necessarily that negative - I remember reading somewhere that the first generation Acura TL was deliberately made to appeal more to the American market than previous models and someone referred to that with a metaphor of adding more butter or something along those lines.
No it doesn't. The bees that pollinate almonds are bred by beekeepers and sent out for this exact purpose. They will be replaced as long as the demand for their service remains.
> By October, 150 of Arp’s hives had been wiped out by mites, 12% of his inventory in just a few months.
> Commercial beekeepers who send their hives to the almond farms are seeing their bees die in record numbers, and nothing they do seems to stop the decline.
> This is more than one-third of commercial US bee colonies...
> In the early 1980s, when Arp was just selling honey, he would lose about 5% of his hives per year to disease or weather conditions. Around 2000, Arp’s bees started dying in greater numbers.
> First, he experienced a nearly 100% loss of his hives from an infestation of tracheal mites.
It doesn't. These losses will be replaced by the keepers.
If this guy has been losing 5-10% of his colonies for forty years, how is he still in businesses? The bees/colonies get replaced, of course.
For example: "glyphosate ... has been shown to be lethal to bees as well as cause cancer in humans"
Neither clause is true.
I don't feel like doing a line by line of the rest, but this is a garbage article.
Glyphosate/RoundUp etc has been shown to have high toxicity for bees and many other animals including humans.
It _was_ considered safe, new data and better science has changed that stance. The article isn't garbage.
Today the situation is a lot more nuanced.
...and as I write this I think I could feel the smell of roundup or another herbicide, so yeah I've been exposed it :-/