Posted by Tania Kindersley.
One of the things I love about the internet is that I never know where I will end up. I was looking for something on the Google when I saw a link about the bees. I have been worrying, quietly, about the bees for some time. There have been increasing reports about sudden hive collapses all over America, and in Europe too. One report I saw said that in places in China where all the bees had died people had resorted to doing pollination with feathers. It's the internet, so I cannot be sure this is true, but if it is even half true it is fairly terrifying.
You see, without the bees, there is no food. It's as stark as that. I'm not just going all hippy dippy and worrying about the sweet beekeepers with their charming headgear. I'm not merely longing for honey. This is not some niche eco side-issue. This is the survival of the species. The bees, very kindly, do all our pollinating for us, so that we can grow crops and eat. (We do bugger all for them, which seems a bit unfair.) If the bees die out, there are no more crops and then what?
The irony is that it seems that pesticides, devised to help crops grow, may be to blame for the death of the bees, which will mean no crops will ever grow again. The leading culprit appears to be something called clothianid, made by the German company Bayer. There is conflicting scientific evidence, but a growing amount of circumstantial proof, to the extent that the German government has actually banned the stuff. The news that has shocked me today is that a leaked document shows that the EPA in America knows that the chemical represents a 'chronic toxic risk to honey bees' and yet continues to approve its use.
If you want to be shocked to your very core, have a look at these:
Not very Christmassy, I know. But oh oh, the bees.
(Photograph by Unknown.)