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With all of the immediate problems facing people these days, it is difficult to be concerned and proactive about the looming environmental crises that will affect us in big ways in the not-too-distant future. After all, who has time to do anything about radiation in the Pacific Ocean when there is still fish in the markets and you can’t find a job to pay the bills?
One of the greatest coming ecological catastrophes for the human race is the global collapse of many bee species which are largely responsible for pollinating our food crops as well as wild plants.
Without bees, human kind will suffer a terrible famine, and in some areas bees have already lost up to 90% of their colonies. Many scientists have linked the collapse of bee colonies to the overuse of a cocktail of varied herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides used in modern agriculture and modern landscaping, and specifically the overused class of poisons, neonicotinoids.
This is a disaster of Biblical proportions in the making, but at present there is still food on the shelves at the local grocery store, so it doesn’t feel like an emergency to most. Furthermore, the institutions we should be able to rely on for global leadership in managing a crisis like this are simply not available to direct their full attention and resources to ecological problems like bugs andradiation, for they seem to have become full-time agents of the banks and the warmongers.
There are things we all can do to contribute to the well-being and our bee populations. Here are a few simple guidelines for making your home, garden and place of work more friendly to bees:
2. Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers in your yard and garden. There are abundant resources online for finding the best plants for your area and climate.
3. Give bees a home by building a bee-hive for them. There are many designs and ideas online, so it should be easy to find the best design for your space and for your climate. Doing so will assist your garden’s overall production greatly as well. You can buy colonized hives of many species ofhoneybees, and finding the right one for your home and garden is easy to do with some local Internet searches.
4. If you absolutely cannot co-exist with a bee colony on your property, do not have it terminated. Instead find an experienced bee-removal company that can safely and ecologically relocate the hive to a more hospitable place for bees.
5. Demand that local government and businesses adopt bee-friendly policies by contacting them and organizing concerned members of your community. Demand that they stop contracting with pest-control companies that use thetoxic poisons that are causing colony collapse disorder.
6. If you are fully inspired to participate in this movement, you might form a co-op of concerned people and set up a bee conservatory to save bees, learn more about them and share the joys of apiculture with your community.
7. Become active in the growing global movement to stop genetically engineered seed companiesfrom monopolizing all agriculture on planet earth and making us completely dependent on their chemical applications, which are killing off bees.
As an inspiring example of how a community can come together in support of this most important link in our global food-chain, take a look at the work of group Co’Oleel Caab on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
In this video, group founder and president Anselma Chale Euan explains how a group of 20 local women has come to be a global example of how ordinary people can contribute to the monumental task of stewarding a future for the honeybee. Their co-op works primarily with the stingless bee, Melipona Beechi, a species that was traditionally cultivated by men during the ancient times of the Mayan empire. Their work has been a learning process but they have developed their hives and have come to care for over 20,000 bees, producing over 48 liters of honey a year.
Not wanting to give in so easily to our ecological demise, good people the world over are taking matters into their own hands and working to protect bees within their own communities. And really, this is how it should be. Ordinary people should have the willingness to get involved in serious communal issues to create the types of futures that we all would like to see.
Working with bees is an inspirational way to learn more about nature, create a future for our children and to participate in the solution to one of the most serious looming crises that confronts the human race.
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.
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What do you get when you cross a fish with an elephant? A patent. But transgenic genetic modification is no joke. It has the potential to create new diseases that can jump species. A new study has found a pathogenic virus that has jumped from genetic engineers’ favorite test-bed, tobacco, to agriculture’s most important helper, honeybees.
Bee carries pollen back to hive / Image: Wikimedia Commons
Honeybees are vitally important to our food supply and are dying off in massive numbers. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), first identified in 2006, has been killing about a third of honeybees each year. Possible causes that have been investigated include diseases, parasites, and pesticides — in particular neonicotinoids.
A new joint study from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science in Beijing published in mBio, the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, may have identified another possible cause of CCD — a tobacco virus.
Whether or not the Tobacco Ring Virus (TRSV) is the cause of CCD, the fact that a plant virus would make such a radical jump from plant to animal is a cause for concern. It’s not just jumping from one species to another, but moving up 6 levels in the biological hierarchy and jumping from the plant kingdom to the animal kingdom.
Jilian Li of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science in Beijing said, “the results of our study provide the first evidence that honey bees exposed to virus-contaminated pollen can also be infected and that the infection becomes widespread in their bodies.” The report concluded, “The increasing prevalence of TRSV in conjunction with other bee viruses is associated with a gradual decline of host population and supports the view that viral infections have a significant negative impact on colony survival.” They found that the plant virus spreads systemically within individual bees, horizontally between bees and vertically from queen to eggs.
It’s even more interesting that it’s a tobacco virus since tobacco has been the go-to plant for Genetic Modification (GM). Tobacco was the first genetically modified plant, first modified in 1982. It has remained the most popular plant for genetic modification research, with GM tobacco plants secreting human proteins, producing rabies anti-bodies, and a plant that can’t stop growing.
And it highlights the concerns that many have had about transgenic genetic engineering. Unlike selective breeding or even cross-breeding, transgenic engineering is what concerns GM critics the most — e.g., splicing genes from an animal into a plant to create bioluminescence. Transgenic engineering is the essence of the label “franken-food”.
It’s ironic that one of the touted success stories of transgenic engineering was to create a virus-resistant papaya in Hawaii. Genetically modified papaya were created to stop the Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRSV). Now the Tobacco Ringspot Virus has jumped from tobacco to honeybees and is thriving on them. This is the nightmare scenario of genetic modification — that transgenic engineering would create, whether or not intentionally, virulent strains of viruses that would wipe out our food supply or even wipe out humans directly with genetic triggers.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm
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