Celebrating World Bee Day
The Bee Project: How we went from ‘sustainable eyewear design’ to ‘sustainable beekeeping’, practically overnight!
According to a 2018 United Nations report, up to 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, which is up from 55 percent at present. What was once green is now grey; our high rises grow taller, our offices expand and our freeways stretch out farther between cities. Clean air has been polluted and microscopic plastics litter our oceans. And as our lives have continued to transcend further into the digital realm, our connection to the natural world has become estranged.
Growing up in the concrete jungle our ability to recognize what is normal for the environment and what isn’t, has dwindled. It has become increasingly clear that the only way to ensure the survival of our planet and all that inhabits it is to live sustainably and harmoniously, with nature. And so, here at neubau eyewear, we have decided to take a first step in the right direction.
The humble Honey Bee has, in recent years, been disappearing at alarming rates (see more about colony collapse disorder here) causing a massive decline in food production, affecting plant growth worldwide. Without the bees, we could lose all of the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals which eat those plants and so on up the food chain. Basically, without them, the world as we know it collapses.
With this in mind, more and more people have decided to start their own backyard bee hives; and we’ve decided to follow cue! Quite recently, the team behind our German branch adapted their rooftop to house four bee hives with hopes to start a thriving bee colony and make some fresh honey in the process.
We spoke with one of the members of our German team, Hans Peter, Head of Internal Sales, on why they felt compelled to offer their space to these honey loving creatures:
How did you discover your love for bees? What makes them special to you? I grew up in the countryside, where I had my own home-grown fruit and vegetables. For many years now, I have been a member of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union in Germany (NABU). Through this, I heard about a special bee project in Hamburg which roused my interest and wish to keep my own bee hives. Taking care of the bees helps me to improve my work-life balance and to strengthen my mental health.
How has bringing bees into – well on top of – your office improved your work as a team? How does it relate to your work with neubau? The honey bee project allows us to mix-up our daily routine and connect with others in different departments. Getting to know each other beyond working together in our daily business is definitely a benefit for professional cooperation since the collaborative work reinforces the community spirit. The project raises awareness for both the importance of the honey bees and sustainability. It helps us to gain a better understanding of the core as well as the brand values of neubau.
What are the biggest moments of joy and what are the biggest challenges for being a beekeeper?
— The project brings me happiness on all levels – from opening the hives to enjoying our own-produced honey. I am a passionate bee keeper because it’s fantastic to see what mother nature has created and to see how the honey bees are navigated by their evolutionary instincts. At the moment, climate change is the biggest challenge we are facing.
This has not been our first time working with bees; in the past we have partnered with the Honey Bee Conservancy to help in the fight against their extinction but up until now, we had not had the chance to observe bees so closely. In fact, over the past year we were actually able to produce more than 100 litres of honey– or at least the bees did, the honey has been making its way to our customers in the form of a gift over this time.
Hans Peter has showed us that working with these insects can be an uplifting and empowering experience; not only are we supporting a sustainable future but we are also learning more about the many creatures that would move through our shared environment, should we let them. Hans Peter suggests that we might try to learn from bees;
— Every decision [made by the bees] is made on a collective basis. Hence, the bees serve as a role model, especially for our daily working business.”
It is clear, that we must work together if we are to live together; something these bees have known for a long time…