There are a lot of folks out here in the country who keep bees. They jar and sell the honey and also have the added benefit of local bees to pollinate their gardens. I've actually thought about doing it myself. As insects go, I think bees are one of the coolest.
But now the bees are disappearing. Not just a few bees, but hundreds of thousands of them. A woman I was talking to last week mentioned that half her hive was gone. The bees just mysteriously left their hive and never came back.
The PBS wildlife-documentary series Nature premiered Sunday with Silence of the Bees. They emphasize this isn't just a local or isolated problem. It's happened in thirty-five states in the U.S. and has been documented in France, England, Spain, China and Australia as well.
While they're (hopefully) on their way to finding out the reason (possibly some sort of bee virus) and (cross your fingers!) a cure, the reality is, if they don't, the disappearance of the bees will affect three-quarters of the entire world's food crops. If that isn't environmental news to pay attention to, I don't know what is!
Yet there was more media and frenzy around bird flu (whatever happened to that?) and West Nile than I've heard about the disappearing bees--but this will have much more, far-reaching effects than those.
So where is the concern, where's the media attention? I hear it in environmental circles, but not so much in the mainstream media. In fact, I've actually heard it denied in the mainstream, downplayed and explained as a "cycle," a similar argument made about global warming as well.
Should we believe nothing is connected? That melting polar ice caps, California wildfires, and dying bees have nothing in common? Are we really so blind? How can we look around at the mounting evidence and keep denying our human part in it?
If nothing else, we need to pay attention to the message the bees are sending.
The natural balance of the world is out of whack.
Everything is connected, and even the smallest things matter.
Wouldn't it be strangely ironic if the demise of civilization came down to something as simple as the dying out of the honeybee?
It makes me wonder when the mainstream media will start paying this some real attention. When people start starving?
Maybe if we point out to them that Jessica Seinfeld's possible plagiarism is going to be proven completely irrelevent because, without bees to pollinate them, there won't be any vegetables or fruits for her or any other mother to puree and sneak into their kids' food--that is, if her husband's new Bee Movie and the message of the dying honeybees isn't finally taken to heart...
Think that might get their attention?
Perhaps we should point out to them that cartoon bees can't, in fact, pollinate flowers. We can't manufacture CGI bees to do the job, folks.
Or should we just start with this?
"Soylent Green is people!"