Your Guide to Reading Between the Tines

Last Flight of the Honeybee?

Last pre-written, on-the-road post.  Next time, I’ll let you know how the veggie Philly cheese steak and decadent NY cheesecake were as I headed back to Phoenix.  Until then, folks!

In May of 2008, British journalist and amateur beekeeper Alison Benjamin wrote a book with Brian McCallum, an apiarist-in-training. That book is A World Without Bees, and it examines the possible causes and consequences of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Remember CCD? It got quite a bit of press a year or two ago. Häagen Dazs even got involved trying to spread the word and find solutions.

It’s not just commercials, either. Häagen Dazs, along with scientists and farmers, went to a congressional hearing on the honeybee crisis in June of this year to persuade them to allocate funds to research the problem. Even so, the honeybee crisis has since largely fallen by the wayside in mainstream media. The problem has not been solved, and researchers are not in agreement about the cause of the collapses. Honeybees continue under extreme stress, and their survival is threatened. Because of their role as essential pollinators in a significant percentage of food crops, this means the security of our food supply is also threatened.

Simply, anyone concerned about the economic crunch and rising food prices needs to be concerned about honeybees. I will be posting more about the honeybees in the near future as I continue to research the situation, but I wanted to give those unfamiliar with the situation some grounding first. Watch the first part of the Häagen Daazs mini-documentary here, then go and check out an article by Benjamin, “The Last Flight of the Honeybee?”, published May 28, 2008, in The Guardian. In it, she outlines some of the most likely causes of CCD. Industrial agriculture is implicated as a major player, as much for the neonicotinoid pesticides applied to fields as for the taxing practice of shipping massive colonies of bees across the nation to pollinate nutritionally-deficient monocultures.

How your food is produced matters. The threats facing honeybees are another illustration of just how much it matters.

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  1. [...] first ran in October 2007 and examines the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, which I’ve mentioned on this site before.  Although there were some unintentionally amusing quirks to the video, such as [...]

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