Whither Goest The Bees…

honeybeeI remember as a child that seeing 40 to 50 butterflies a day was not uncommon. About 3 miles from where I lived thousands of Monarch butterflies would gather for their migration. It truly was a sight to behold. This was back in the day before wide spread use of massively toxic chemicals were used to try to control insects and unwanted plants (referred to as weeds.)

Bees were scary because they made a buzz noise and stung (which really hurt.) I knew they were part of nature and beneficial. They were beneficial because they pollinated the plants and gave us honey, but I really didn’t pay much attention to them. Well, with the exception of one that hung out in the space between my parents patio and the neighbors shed. I didn’t know why (or what kind it was) it was just an interesting thing to watch as it bombed other insects that invaded its turf.

As a note I also enjoyed watching spiders spin their webs. If you haven’t done that try it – fascinating.

A few years ago I started hearing about CCD (colony collapse disorder) and how the bee population was decreasing suddenly and rapidly. My girlfriend and I started talking about this and how Isaac Newton stated that when the bees are gone man won’t be far behind. We rely tremendously upon the bee for our agriculture. We rely on the butterfly as well which I haven’t seen many of over the last 20 years or so.

A few months ago my girlfriend and I watched a show on PBS about the state of agriculture in China and how the absence of bees has affected it. China has approximately 1/3 of the worlds population and for a significant portion of their agriculture they now rely on people collecting the pollen, drying it and manually pollinating the flowers.

Recently I read that the German Coalition against Bayer Dangers brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management, with the Public Prosecutor in Freiburg (south-western Germany). The group accuses Bayer of marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world.

The Coalition introduced the charge in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year. Read more

Clothiandin is the successor to Imidacloprid whose introduction years before coincided with another sudden drop in the bee population. Clothiandin was released and pushed, as legal protection (meaning patent protection) was set to expire and any competitors could produce it without having to pay royalties.

Why is it that we, as a species, must develop things without looking at the impact it will have? The Iroquois Confederacy used to say “In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” We need to start thinking about our world in this way and put an end to the short term, near-sighted approach we are taking today.

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