This article is not a debate about global warming. Many believe that it is man-made, case closed. The truth is that there is still a lot we don't know. Furthermore, this view is not unanimously shared by all scientists as some would have us believe. Many assumptions from those in the environmental movement are shaping our future as some in these groups wish to radically alter our very existence with the goal of social engineering. The movement itself has been hijacked, and solutions to environmental concerns are being offered in the way of more taxes and control over what we can and cannot do. There is little doubt that we have done harm to our planet, but when faced with an environmental issue like bees dying around the globe, where is the outcry?
In late 2006 many beekeepers in the Eastern United States began reporting increasing amounts of honey bees vanishing from their hives, never to return. Many are attributing this to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which some scientists believe to be contagious. The loss of upwards of 90% of bees has been reported in 27 states. Bees are also disappearing in large numbers in Europe, Asia, and parts of South America. Massive die-offs have been reported in parts of Canada as well. New Brunswick has lost upwards of 85% of its bee colonies, Ontario close to 33%, and Quebec about 40%. Billions of bees have disappeared without a trace. It is interesting to note that CCD and massive die-offs have not been detected in the organic bee industry.
There have been many hypotheses and theories as to why so many bees are dying. It could very well be a combination of different things. Some scientists point to CCD, fungus, bacteria, genetically mortified crops, and even the use of cell phones for this phenomenon. Others suspect that temperature plays a big part in determining mass behavior in bees, while some U.S. beekeepers think that it was a late cold snap that caused massive die-offs this year. Many scientist believe that there is also a link between pesticide use and bees dying, and this could be the root cause of CCD. Bees which come into contact with herbicides, pesticides, as well as antibiotics used for pest control then have the toxins absorbed through the beeswax. Some studies have shown that pesticides may impair bees navigational and foraging abilities. New research by Spanish scientists attribute the mass disappearance of bees to a parasite called nosema ceranae, which has spread to parts of Europe, has crossed the Atlantic, and is present in Canada and Argentina. These Spanish researchers have yet to test samples from parts of the U.S. where many bees have gone missing.
Honeybees are vital to our food chain, with about 100 crop species dependent on pollination to varying degrees. These crops include cherries, blueberries, apples, almonds, asparagus, and others and honeybee hives are rented out to growers to pollinate these crops. There are other animals and creatures who pollinate such as birds, bats, beetles, and flies, and their numbers have also declined in the last number of years. More money and resources must be allocated to properly study and hopefully solve the mystery of why so many bees are dying.
Protecting our planet has turned increasingly more political and profitable for some as the environmental movement has switched from a more science-based approach to that of raw emotion and rhetoric, and has itself become a religion to many. Those who do not toe the line or who disagree are labeled heretics. Finding out why the bees are dying and trying to prevent it from happening is a real environmental issue that is being seemingly ignored by many. The recent Earth Live concerts were themselves riddled with hypocrisy and served as an opportunity for many to feel good about themselves, but did little to change other peoples minds. Despite the persistent bombardment from the media and government the fact is that global warming remains only a moderate concern to the majority of people. That is not to say that climate change isn't a legit issue that needs to be further studied, but the doom and gloom that global warming is going to kill us is itself interchangeable with the way terrorism is being used to scare the population into submission. There is still much we don't know about are own planet, much less the universe. Real solutions must be offered to environmental concerns and should include informing the public and drawing attention, but not forcing it upon them or making them think a certain way. Perhaps saving the bees will one day be seen as a cool and a trendy cause.
The loss of so many bees should be of great concern and importance. Unfortunately many try and capitalize on situations with sensationalism that can lead to fear mongering. Many have used a quote by Albert Einstein that says, “If the Bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.” There still isn't a definitive reason why so many bees are disappearing and dying, but it should serve as a warning. We must stay focused on more research and communication, which will lead to a better understanding and real solutions to save the bees and further benefit mankind's existence.