If the BEES Go… We ALL Follow

I’ve been studying this rather scary and intimidating ecological dilemma for a few years now.  From time to time the story has popped up in the newspaper, magazines, on TV documentaries and of course on the net.

I’ve always been the quintessensial “Nature boy” chasing snakes, frogs, crayfish, spiders, fish and the like all of my younger years.  Even now I have a 125 gallon saltwater aquarium in my dining room and a 12 gallon mini version of same in the living room.  I’ve always had a reverence for all living things in the world’s ecosystem.  The simple fact that any of these creatures/plants can survive the hard realities of life on earth amazes me.  It is disheartening for me to realize that many of man’s actions in the pursuit of profit,  in the pursuit of power have caused so much irreparable harm to the natural world.  And that many times that damage could have been avoided with some clear thinking and prudent action.

We are killing off the bees.  The bees that pollinate the plants that provide  the bulk of the world’s food for both animals and man. The plants that make the basis of many medicines. Let us carefully consider these statements.  It is not an exaggeration nor hyperbole to say that when the bees are gone WE WILL ALL FOLLOW.  I urge you to read this most enlightening article by Todd Woody written in July 2013.

http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/

According to WIKIPEDIA,

“Colony collapse is significant economically because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by European honey bees. According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honeybee’s pollination was estimated to be close to $200 billion in 2005.[7] Shortages of bees in the US have increased the cost to farmers renting them for pollination services by up to 20%.[8]

The mechanisms of CCD and the reasons for its increasing prevalence remain unclear, but many possible causes have been proposed: pesticides (in particular, those of the neonicotinoid class); infections with Varroa and Acarapis mites; malnutrition; various pathogens; genetic factors; immunodeficiencies; loss of habitat; changing beekeeping practices; electromagnetic radiation from electronic communication devices; or a combination of factors.[9]

The Christian Science Monitor’s online edition dated Feb. 20, 2014 in an artclie by Noelle Swan points out another disturbing trend.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2014/0220/Not-just-honeybees-Affliction-may-be-spreading-to-bumblebees-scientists-say-video

This potent and poisonous cocktail of factors, most of which are the direct result of human action (or lack thereof) is destroying the bee populations in all of the areas of the world where human concentrations depend heavily on the foodstuffs the bees assist in creating.

A scientific study by Dr. Richard Gill  at the University of London and featured  in Nature magazine, shows that there are  two pesticides implicated as the cause of colony collapse disorder. “Chronic exposure…to two pesticides…impairs natural foraging behavior and increases worker mortality.”  Gill’s study focused on overall hive behavior and survival as related to the pesticides neonicotinoid and pyrethroid.

Lauen Admire writing for escapistmagazine.com on July 26th 2013 had this to say. “Since 2006, bees in North America have been dying by the tens of millions from Colony Collapse Disorder; a phenomenon in which all the worker bees abruptly abandon the beehive, leaving only a queen and a few worker bees behind. Scientists have struggled to pinpoint a single cause of the disorder, identifying malnutrition, pesticides and habitat loss as potential suspects.

Governments around the world need to take a hard look at the practices of their farming communities. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, “I” take some spots on the apples but leave me the birds and the bees…please!” A more aggressive move towards organic farming can only help.  And a marketplace driven by common sense would also add much needed movement in the right direction.

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5 Responses to If the BEES Go… We ALL Follow

  1. Joanne F says:

    Extremely disturbing, and almost as disturbing is the fact that the majority of Americans don’t know this (and a large slice don’t believe it, but that’s another issue).

    I read the Woody article at the link above (which again totally demoralizes me) and it brings something to mind from my days of product liability litigation: He discusses how the fallout from the use of pesticides and herbicides appears to have a role in this even though certain areas did not use the “-cides”, and how users were led to believe that some of these poisons could not have such an effect. (Helllooo, it’s poison, people!)

    That is classic corporate deception foisted on the FDA and the public. Manufacturers of products — who care more about profits than safety — will ignore or bury information that shows the product’s dangers. Or worse, they will hire science whores at great sums of money to fabricate studies that “prove” the product’s safety. (Like the 1% of scientists who deny climate change, all industry whores.)

    Case in point and a pretty good analogy: Tobacco manufacturers. They claimed from early on that cigarettes and other tobacco products were safe and there were no untoward effects from their use. My torts professor in law school, a brilliant, Harvard-educated lawyer who went to work for one of the high-powered NYC firms that defended the tobacco industry, told us that in the early phases of discovery in tobacco litigation, they answered interrogatories disclaiming any dangers or knowledge of any dangers. Then, when the bigwigs were deposed and examined by very good plaintiff’s counsel, they admitted that they had known since as early as the ’40s that their products were dangerous, unsafe and a health hazard. Why aren’t people like that in jail? (Needless to say, my torts professor was so disillusioned with this behavior that he quit private practice and became a professor. We were VERY lucky to get him at UF!)

    How does this happen? Corporations make cost-benefit analyses on safety issues. They literally estimate how many lawsuits they might receive and the costs of resolving them vs. how much money it would take to make the product safe across-the-board. Safety is never the issue, money is. Is this what we teach students in Business School? Is this Business Morality? WTH?

    Anyway, thanks, Joe, for another excellent blog, which was extremely well done. I hope your other readers are passing this information along. I try in my little corner of the world, but we really need every corner of the world to get with this. Before it’s too late.

  2. Laura Phair says:

    Dude…spread the word…no chemicals….I have been touting this for decades…..biodynamic gardening and farming is the way to go! Are you folks free any weekends in March?

    Blessings,

    Laura

  3. joeref says:

    I’m always trying to spread the word ! Please help spread it. My reply to your other query is in your email. 😉

  4. This is a serious concern. What will we do without the bees? We will have to hand pollinate plants, and we cannot do that as efficiently as bees, so food production will decline. Scary.

    • joeref says:

      I think it might be even worse because there are astronomical numbers of plants on this planet and basically ALL of them depend on some sort of mechanical pollination. This is scary and quite dangerous. It impacts the food supply for ALL living things, not just the human population.

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