Wednesday, April 23, 2008
What Will Bee, Will BeeThis past February, we had one of those weird 70 degree days in Washington. I did what I always do on those strange days in the middle of winter, I took my coffee out to the patio, and enjoyed the afternoon sun. As I sat in my lawn chair, another strange thing happened. A bee buzzed by my head. Now I know it seems insignificant, particularly with all of the weird environmental things that have happened in the past decade, tornadoes in January, hurricanes in the Pacific, severe droughts, and torrential rains. But it happened in my own backyard in the middle of winter, and in all of my years of sitting on my patio, I've never seen a bee in February.
Since we've been speaking of food shortages and the crisis that faces the expanding world population, I figured I should comment on a recent mysterious phenomenon, that I've stumbled upon. Bees, regular worker bees, have been disappearing. It's not a joke, they don't die or get eaten by predators, they just leave the hive, and don't return. No one knows where the bees are going, or why. Now if you're like me, and find that bees are kind of scary, particularly if they are large and flying up in your face, you might think....good riddance, go fly off to some other person's backyard and scare them. But as it turns out, bees are essential to all sorts of things that we eat everyday, fruits and vegetables, as much as perhaps 60 percent of the food supply in this country depends on these reliable little workers bees. The loss of honey bees could even hurt the supply of ice cream. Hagen-Dazs, my favorite ice cream maker, is saying that the vanishing bees mean fewer flavors, and higher prices.
No ice cream? I gotta tell ya, that just scares the crap out of me.
You know...I hate to be the one who is always saying that the sky is falling. I hate it that my family thinks I'm depressed, because I read the newspapers and connect the dots. I hate the fact that I understand that the changing environmental conditions are reaching a level where we are beginning to see the consequences of our own neglect. I hate being the bearer of bad tidings. It's nearly 1 am on the East Coast, I should be sleeping, dreaming of Shakira (thanks a lot Bruce), and Butter Pecan ice cream. Instead, I am awake and worrying about the food supply for an entire planet, worrying about insects that have flown off for unknown reasons, (I don't even like insects) and people, even in my own family, think I am crazy. But that's not even the the worst of it.
Vanilla Swiss Almond is my favorite ice cream. If we have no bees, we have no almonds.
And that sucks.
Technorati Tags: disappearing bees,food crisis, climate change
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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