Declining Bee Populations - A Threat To The Human Race?
by edmondso on October 6, 2016 - 10:27pm
Would the human race die out if bees went extinct? No, probably not. Would human life be any different if bees went extinct? Yes, definitely.
Joachim Hagopian of Global Research published an informative article that aims to discuss the implications of the bee extinction or even a severe decrease in populations. The author explains why bees are at risk, and how we can save them. The different factors contributing to current declines in bee populations are outlined. For starters, some areas are experiencing harsher and longer winters while other areas suffer from severe drought. Another issue comes from the overuse of pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides. In support of these claims the author discusses a number of studies. One study found that bees that came into contact with fungicides were three times more likely to become infected by a parasite. Another study found that certain types of insecticides cause acute and chronic poisoning in entire bee colonies. The author suggests that there needs to be better collaboration between crop growers and beekeepers, changes need to be made in land use management, and urban residents should be better educated on the importance of bees.
Major actors mentioned in the article include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Greenpeace, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Other actors involved include local dairy farmers, cattle ranchers, and local beekeepers. Amongst the different actors, conflicts are arising as a result of different beliefs and end goals. It seems as though large honey companies are focusing more on the economic gain, and local beekeepers producing organic honey are more focused on ensuring the beekeeping is done ethically with minimal negative impacts.
Throughout reading this article, I asked myself how and why we let it get this far. I don’t think people take declining bee populations seriously enough considering human life would be greatly impacted if bees were to go extinct. Bees play an important role in all ecosystems and their extinction would impact the highest levels of our food chain. While this article explains a few reasons as to why bee populations are declining, I think the issue of unethical beekeeping was left out. Large companies are not always ethical in the harvesting of honey, and often times the bees are crushed during the removal of the honey. I also felt the author could have went into further detail on current conservation efforts. It was mentioned that the USDA has invested three million dollars in farmer aid, but who else is taking action? I’d like to know what the Canadian Federation of Agriculture or the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture have done or plans to do in conservation of bee populations. Another question I ask is why has such a minimal amount been invested in something so important?
In regards to the conservation of bees, I have a few ideas. First I question why our society is so against the natural plants that grow throughout our cities. My suggestion is that we enforce regulations around the removal of bee friendly weeds and flowers, such as dandelions. Yes, dandelions completely take over every inch of grass in the springtime, but bees love them and it only lasts a few weeks. I think I’ll take the allergies over the implications of the bee extinction. I also think we should also have stricter regulations on the use of pesticides on lawns, perhaps just banning them all together. Residents are trying to create perfect manicured lawns but in doing so wildlife and plants are being severely impacted. I think cities need to stop taming nature, and instead let it flourish.
Hagopian, J. (2016). Death and Extinction of the Bees. Global Research. Retrieved from http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684