Sunday, 30 November 2008

Bee warned

The Kent on Sunday reports on the worrying news that bee numbers are falling and suggests that fruit harvests and honey production will be hit. I thing they are missing the point somewhat!

They do go on to suggest that 33% food production relies on pollination from bees, but surely that proportion is a little low? I can't think of any food stuff from the land that, in the long term, won't be affected by a lack of bees. Ok, one third is directly reliant on bees, but the knock on effects on other species are huge. Surely only water based life will be unaffected? According to scientists talking at the Earthwatch debate, bees are the most invaluable species on the planet.

The Living Planet Index suggests that the decline of species in general is of epidemic proportions with a 30% decline since 1970. Others suggest that we have not seen the like of this since the extinction of the dinosaurs and are call it the sixth mass extinction.

Perhaps this is the fourth crunch? The others being credit, energy and climate.

Anyway, letter going to the Kent on Sunday:

Sir: Last week's Kent on Sunday article suggesting that honey and fruit production will be hit by the declining bee numbers merely scratches the surface of the threat posed by the loss of bees. While one third of food of is directly produced from food pollinated by insects, the knock on effects of devastation of bee colonies will affect most land based food production in the long term. Scientists have dubbed the honey bee as the most invaluable species on the planet, yet there seems to be little concern about the rapidly declining numbers.

Of course, it is not just the bees that are declining. The rate of extinction and decline over the past few decades has been at a rate not known since the disappearance of the dinosaurs with the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Index showing a 30% drop in biodiversity since 1970 and attributing this to human actions.

Actions such as pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, chopping down rainforests to provide land for meat production, concreting land to build roads, and spraying growing areas with pesticides, all contribute to a fight against nature that we sadly seem to be winning.

Individuals and governments need to become wise to the world around us, the natural world that ultimately feeds and clothes us. We have to work with the living world rather than against it, we are after all, part of it.

No comments: