the following post is not meant really to express an environmental concern, it is a metaphor. bees are insects that exhibit many of the traits of civilization, they have division of labor, they build colonies, they work collaboratively toward goals, they have architecture. the reading below is from Harper’s Magazine Findings section. when I read this I think about human beings, i think about chemicals and warfare and artificial systems, and then I think about our ability to remain organized toward survival. i wonder a bit if we are not experiencing this, this Colony Collapse Disorder.
as far as our environment goes, perhaps the environment is and always will be a reflection of how human beings are treating one another. perhaps our planet is like the colony, and when we are sick, the colony, the environment, the air, the water, exhibits signs of our inability to work collaboratively. my thinking about the environment has always been that it must start with a spiritual revolution, that human beings have to be inspired to work collaboratively, build up the idea of community once again, perhaps put aside the notion of freedom and work instead on interdependence, and then, when we feel safe and a part of a world again, we might care about that world, we might return to our colony day after day and keep it from collapsing.
From Harper’s Magazine:
As honeybees continued to vanish from their hives, researchers supported by the National Honey Board pointed to pesticide accumulation in beeswax as a contributing factor in Colony Collapse Disorder. The researchers, who also found that beeswax loses half its accumulated mite-killing pesticides when subjected to Cobalt 60 gamma radiation, suggested that beekeepers change their honeycombs more often. Bee inbreeding was rising as populations shrank, leading to freak male bees with excessive chromosomes, lower fertility, and bad work habits. Scottish beekeepers reported the appearance of American Foul Brood (which, unlike European Foul Brood, is incurable), and Cape honeybees breached the Capensis Line, which South Africa’s government maintains to prevent the spread of AFB to African honeybees. In Britain, where the countryside was plagued by bee thefts, authorities planned to reintroduce, from New Zealand, the locally extinct shorthaired bumblebee; U.S. entomologists hoped to offset honeybee declines by promoting the solitary blue orchard bee, which can live in Styrofoam. It was discovered that America once had its own native honey-bee, Apis nearctica. Scientists found that forcing forager bees to undertake nursing tasks makes them less likely to grow stupid with age, that baby bees’ immune systems are less active if their hives are coated in antimicrobial bee resin, that male orchid bees stick out their legs to remain stable in high winds, and that bumble-bees stay aloft through brute force.