By Leslie Mongin
Confronting the climate crisis can seem daunting on an individual level, but the Green Team at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou is proving that communities can take everyday actions to make a difference. Over the last year, the Green Team, in coordination with the facilities staff, added reusable water bottle fill stations and e-bike charging stations, removed single-use plastics from the cafeteria, and re-invigorated the community garden. To support the garden and pollination in the neighborhood, locally employed staff applied their bee-keeping knowledge to create the first apiary in Mission China. This apiary, made of up six beehives of 42,000 bees, enhances the biodiversity of Guangzhou’s Zhujiang New Town by pollinating the consulate’s garden, low-irrigation grounds, and nearby flora.
Beyond the environmental dividends, the apiary is now a source of representational gifts. Consul General Lisa Heller and staff recently harvested a few batches of honey to jar and share at upcoming events. Along the way, the Green Team has collected a few tips for fellow aspiring beekeepers. For instance, location matters—the apiary is situated on the roof of a consulate warehouse, to keep sting-risk low. With a tent to provide additional sun protection during the day and mitigate light pollution from bright perimeter security lights at night, the apiary also has adequate room for future hive expansion. Heavy precipitation is common in Guangzhou, and the tent also offers shelter during the rainy season. Lastly, staff used mesh to block hive entrances from cockroaches and placed hives on plastic pillars sitting in water to prevent ant attacks.
For less than $400, this multi-functional apiary now pollinates ConGen Guangzhou’s flowers and vegetables, enhances the environmental landscape of the vicinity, and produces tasty gifts that highlight U.S. climate commitments to create a more sustainable future.
Leslie Mongin is the public engagement advisor at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou