The Civics Lab

What's all the Buzz?- Interview with Erika Thompson and the ABC (Austin Bee City) Resolution

March 03, 2022 David Thomason Season 2 Episode 3
The Civics Lab
What's all the Buzz?- Interview with Erika Thompson and the ABC (Austin Bee City) Resolution
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We did a quick take with Erika Thompson (@texasbeeworks), founder of Texas Beeworks and professional bee keeper, along with advocates from UT  and the community, on a recent Austin City Council to make Austin a Bee City.  What's a Bee City?  Have a listen!  If you want to know more about the work Erika Thompson is conducting, take a look at her profile article in Texas Monthly.  https://www.texasmonthly.com/being-texan/erika-thompson-beekeeper-tiktok/

Speaker 1:

So the civic labs here down at Austin city hall , uh , we had the opportunity to hear a resolution that was just passed on making Austin a B city. So thought we would just , uh , talk to the folks that are down here that have been working in this , the world of bees be colonies, why this is important for Austin to become a B city.

Speaker 2:

Well,

Speaker 3:

Let's go

Speaker 1:

Ahead and , and you wanna say your name? What's your

Speaker 3:

Name? My name is Erica Thompson. I'm a full-time professional beekeeper and the founder of Texas Bworks . And this is such an important public policy. It's just going to promote the health and wellness of pollinators. It's gonna preserve their habitat , Decrease the use of pesticides and really bring a lot of awareness to, to the plight that bees are facing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. You know, that's, it's something that a lot of people don't think about when they, they go outside it's uh , oftentimes people think of bees as a , as a nuisance or distraction. So why is it important that Austin is a be city? What does that, what does that do to, to our overall health and E co

Speaker 3:

Sure . Bees are incredibly important to the health of our ecosystem, as well as our food system. And, you know, we , we think about honeybees as being the primary pollinators, but of course there's over 20,000 species of native bees. And a lot of those native bees are, you know , being threatened by habitat loss . As we see more people moving , these native landscapes are decreasing and becoming viewer , and we really need to preserve those areas so that we can support these populations and these which are just so important to our community. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

And we have some other folks here from different groups. We have the , the BVO group from the university of Texas that testify . And y'all want to make a few comments about what Bibo is, why y'all started this , uh , why the university of Texas is involved in something like this.

Speaker 4:

Okay. Um , I'm a freshman at UT in the first year member of Bibo human society. And it's really interesting to see how much we've built a community at UT and just around campus surrounding bees and raising awareness and to pollinators and everything. And this bill or this item being passed is just really good for the whole city of Austin, just to see that it can be on a bigger scale and we can do it all across

Speaker 3:

Everywhere.

Speaker 4:

Yeah . Um , I'm Des T I'm a senior at UT I'm the president of the Bebo beekeeping society. And we just recently worked to attain B campus USA certification for UT Austin in June, 2020. Um, which was really exciting. We just submitted our first renewal report , um, which was a really big milestone. So seeing that this is gonna be implemented on a largest scale with the city of Austin, it's really , um , exciting, you know, the work that we've done with B campus USA has been really rewarding and knowing that other members of the Austin community can participate in supporting pollinators and native ecosystems , um, it's something that Viv O is super excited

Speaker 1:

About. Yeah. And , and you wanna say your name, you made a really good point earlier about Rachel , the Canary and the coal mine .

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Uh , uh , the , in the , uh, uh, three minutes did gimme enough time to say everything that I wanted to say, cuz I'm not, I wasn't that well organized , but , uh, the three major asides that are being , uh , put over on crops across the country , um, are, are turning out to be not the safe , uh , pesticides that they were, they were touted as , uh , we've got, we've got the ized , which don't seem to be a big problem for , uh, yet that we know of for people, but they are persistent and they, and they go from the plants to the ground, they're washed into the waterways and then they are everywhere and they , uh , and they , they bio accumulate in plants and then they killed bees. And , uh , the , the other two big ones , uh , are the , uh , Monsanto , uh , Roundup , uh , which is , is causing the , uh , uh , real big problems I think with , uh , non Hudkins lymphoma and , and , and other cancers. And , uh , then , uh , the , uh , um , the third one, which I

Speaker 1:

That's okay, forget

Speaker 5:

The name up , but it , but it's, it's, it's also , uh , causing , um , uh , problems with, with cancers. And when you take a poison and, and use it to kill something specific, the fact is that living beings all originated from the same source that , and we are more complex than the bees. So it takes longer before , uh , we start to see the effects of the people, but , uh , you know , just like I said , the , the , the , uh , Canary in the coal , just as the Canary needs to breathe and is more sensitive when something goes wrong, these bees are telling us that something's going badly wrong.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, I appreciate you taking time. Congratulations. Thank you for the work you've done on this. That means a lot to the city of Austin. Thank you. This is David Thomas reporting from the city hall.

Erika Thompson Comments