Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nifty video of some of nature's most prolific pollinators

The video linked was shown at a TED conference. TED is an organization that highlights a number of different things, mostly of a scientific nature but also often of philisophical or humanitarian view points.

Louis Scwhartzberg put together an film called "The Wings of Life" (click here to view the full video and read the attached blog from http://www.ted.com/). As I watched a shot of a field covered in hundreds and thousands of monarch butterflies, I realized how fragile our hold on this earth is. While we think we have a lot of control and that everything will be fine moving forward, we ignore that we pump a large number of poisons into our bodies and thus our environment. Did you know that benzoyl peroxide is used to bleach flour? I can't "diss" the chemical too much as it's the only thing that does a decent job keeping my acne under control, yet I still ponder what a chemical that is related to jet fuel does to our bodies, especially as a food processing additive. We know for sure that it strips flour of most nutrients, otherwise we wouldn't need it to be "enriched" with vitamins and minerals.

In about two months the annual almond pollination season begins. Roughly three quarters of the commercial bee hives in the U.S. will be trucked down to California. The bees will be forced to live off of almond pollen and nectar solely (imagine eating only one thing day in and day out - not a good way to get all the nutrients your body needs). The will be crowded in together with hundreds of other hives in cramped quarters (tenement living seems to be a good metaphor). The bees will spread different diseases and mites to each other (bees are social animals and will happily allow any bee that comes to its hive entrance if it has a gullett fully loaded with nectar). Various pesticides are used to control the mites. Various antibiotics are used to treat the diseases.

The mites and diseases get stronger and the bees get weaker.

The stress of the forced migration to California and then on to the rest of country as the beekeepers follow the honey makes the bees even weaker. Without getting overly anthropomorphic, I think we can a leap to say the same thing about us. As we pump more and more and chemicals into our own bodies and eat more and more corn-based products (high-fructose corn syrup being a leading contender but also from the beef, chicken and pork we eat that eat the all the industrial grade corn being grown) the weaker we will become and the more resistant and stronger the diseases will become.

Colony collapse disorder came to the bees, what will come to us?