Friday, March 29, 2013

The plight of the honeybees - and all of us

Honeybees have been dying off in unusual numbers for years now. Conservationists have raised the alarm repeatedly about what this could mean, that it could be a harbinger of an even larger problem for the environment as a whole. 

Some who work in agriculture have been dismayed also, because many of the crops they raise depend largely upon honeybees for their pollination and production. Typically, others have pooh-poohed the whole idea that there is anything unusual or out of the ordinary going on.

Now comes word that in the past year alone 40 to 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables have been wiped out by the mysterious malady that has ravaged the honeybee population. This finally seems to have gotten the attention of some people who had ignored the story before.

For example, there is this instance cited in The New York Times' story about the plight of the honeybees:
But Mr. Adee [the South Dakota owner of the nation's largest beekeeping company), who said he had long scorned environmentalists’ hand-wringing about [pesticide use in crops], said he was starting to wonder whether they had a point. 
Of the "environmentalist" label, Mr. Adee said: "I would have been insulted if you had called me that a few years ago. But what you would have called extreme — a light comes on, and you think, 'These guys really have something. Maybe they were just ahead of the bell curve.'"

So Mr. Adee wasn't concerned about the story until it started to affect him. 

And isn't that just the way of it with so many issues that face our society? From same-sex marriage to global climate change, unless we can see that it affects us personally in some detrimental way, we just ignore it.

The Monarch butterflies are dying, the honeybees are dying, and the environmentalists keep raising concerns about the overuse of chemical pesticides and herbicides that are changing the face of our land, destroying the fabric of the habitats that animals - and, ultimately, we - depend on. Maybe it's time that "a light comes on" and we begin to pay attention to what they and Mother Nature are trying to tell us.  

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