Most people only know that I work in IT. Some even call me a hacker – which I really appreciate :-) However, by university degree I am an environmental engineer (and English - Hungarian translator). Even if I never worked in my field, except for some student jobs, I still follow any news related to the environment closely. This is why I was very happy to learn, that my home city, Budapest, introduced bee pastures in the city.
So, what are bee pastures? Most people expect that public areas in a city have shortly cut grass. It is convenient for humans, you can walk on it, you can play games on it or bask in the sun. The price is that it needs to be cut regularly and there are no flowers: bees cannot eat there. Bees have an essential role in our ecosystems. Unfortunately, the area where they eat and live is continuously shrinking, due to humans. Establishing bee pastures, areas with the right mix of flowering plants can help the bee population to survive and grow. Establishing bee pastures in selected areas of cities can help in multiple ways. It helps the bees, it looks nice and can also save costs on lawn mowing.
Where it went wrong in Budapest
Turning a grass area into bee pasture does not mean that it does not need maintenance any more. It just means less frequent maintenance. Of course, there are also some properly maintained bee pastures in Budapest. The problem is, that in most cases, in practice it means an area with a “Bee Pasture” sign and completely left alone. In real life I have only seen this problematic version, where behind the “Bee Pasture” sign one could only see overgrown areas, full of highly allergenic plants.
My Facebook post
Facebook is aware, that I like reading about environmental issues. So, one of the posts on my time line was a photo from the UK, which showed bee pastures on the streets and parks of a small town. It looked like what you would expect when someone mentions bee pasture. I shared the photo with a short text: “This is a fantastic idea, and there are places where they do this properly”.
Offending two sides
So, where is the problem? If you read so far, you can see that I support a progressive idea and criticize how it is carried out. The discussion below my post grew into a flame-war. To understand why, here is some background information. The “bee pasture” idea came from the leaders of the city of Budapest, led by a major opposition figure. What does it mean? Anyone supporting the opposition parties support bee pastures, even if in practice it means large fields of allergenic plants. Anyone supporting the governing party considers the bee pasture idea crazy, even where it is implemented properly. My post offended both sides, as I supported an opposition idea, but I criticized how it was implemented.
This post was only shared with my Facebook friends. Still, after a few days my post was reported enough times to be deleted.
How does it come to an IT blog?
You might wonder how this story is related to IT, the primary focus of my blog. It is related. Most of the time I am independent. There are hot debates in IT as well, where I avoid taking a side – at least publicly. If I need to write about the topic publicly for example to inform syslog-ng users in a question, I keep a safe distance from all sides involved. I do not judge who is good, who is bad, just focus on how the given problem affects syslog-ng users. Just to mention a few:
- ElasticSearch vs. OpenSearch – the most frequently used log destination in syslog-ng
- RHEL vs. CentOS Stream vs. CentOS replacements – the most frequently used operating system to run syslog-ng
Taking a side, seeing everything in black and white is easier: less thinking, feeling of belonging. But that’s not how I work in IT or in real life.
You can also make a difference if you have a garden. Make sure that you have some flowering plants in parts of your garden all around the year. And avoid using chemicals as much as possible.