No Bees – No Us

The winds here have been so strong over the last few days. Living on the south side of the Island, those south-westerly breezes can get pretty dramatic at times. On the seafront the sand has been hurled across the road, the rollers in the bay fiercely white and relentlessly pounding. It is a constant battle to keep the road clear of sand in the winter, drifts of it piling up, the shore moving inland but for the tarmac. Standing on Yaverland Beach is exhilarating, feeling the winds slice around the headland at Dunnose Point, channelled across the water to hit Culver cliff with full force.

I have always loved strong winds but I have found of late that some of this weather makes me feel very uneasy. Perhaps I wouldn’t be quite so alarmed by the winds and heavy rain if I knew nothing of global warming. All weather tends to take on a rather ominous tint now that we have become aware of the changes we seem to be recklessly and wilfully initiating. It might be just my imagination but the wind feels much more aggressive, the raindrops outsized and falling with an intensity that could match the monsoon season.

I saw an academic from Oxford University on TV last night saying that he thought the decline in the bee population was a far greater immediate threat than global warming. He predicted a massive drop in honey bees over the next fifty years leading to a catastrophic decline in pollination and therefore many of our food sources. Without flowers being pollinated, we basically don’t eat. His predictions were grim: mass starvation, war and pestilence on a biblical scale and manifesting much quicker than we could imagine. The bee problem is worryingly world-wide. If we continue to destroy the habitat of our bees whilst also weakening their immune systems with pesticides, we are heading for disaster. In Druidry the bee is said to teach us much about living in community and harmony with each other and the natural world. How apt that the bee should be the messenger that is trying to alert us to the madness of our chosen course. How wonderful if we could heed that message and feel ourselves once again part of the community of nature, striving to protect and sustain the life system we are dependent upon.

One thorny related issue is, of course, population control. It would seem the time has come to re-think our attitudes toward reproduction. There are all sorts of issues that arise when we talk about controlling people’s ‘right’ to have children – it’s a tricky subject – but it would seem that the assumption that it is our right to produce as many children as we wish or desire, no longer feels appropriate for the situation that we now find ourselves in. There seems little point in having an unchecked population explosion that leads to those very children’s lives being put under threat by the social, economic and environmental breakdown we might be courting. It’s a weird one for me because I have never had the desire to produce children in the slightest. I sincerely feel puzzled that many feel such a passion for it. I think that at the moment nature needs more of us to feel this way. Of course, we still need to reproduce but not at the expense of the wider good, be it social or environmental. Children are a blessing and – not to get horribly clichéd about it – they are indeed our future, all the more reason why we need to be increasingly aware of the importance of this issue. I hate the idea of being regulated by some government ruling. It would seem far better for people to be informed of the implications and make sensible decisions based on that information. It’s something that we all need to take responsibility for. The vast increase in population over the last fifty years – one that is still rising at an alarming rate – is not sustainable. It might actually come to the point where some official intervention is needed.

What is deeply depressing is that none of these issues are being properly debated in the wider community. There are groups and individuals at a grass-roots level that are trying to make a difference but the lack of political vision from those officially elected to lead us makes the task so much more difficult, and in many cases actively prevents change from occurring. This leads many of us to tick along in a strange kind of apathy, swallowing the fear and feeling psychologically paralysed and impotent in the face of such overwhelming odds.

We need the bees to live, not only for our basic survival but also to help us envision a better way to be together. The bee is our wake up call; if we ignore them, this foolhardy decision could turn out to be our biggest fuck up of all, condemning us and a great many other innocent species to an untimely demise.

For some heartening proof that there are folks out there who are caring for the bees and trying to bring about a turn around in their (and our) fate,  please check out Adrienne Campbell’s wonderful Blog  100 Monkeys –  Adrienne keeps bees and is experimenting with more environmentally and bee friendly methods.


  1. Wyzwmn said,

    November 19, 2009 at 12:44 am

    there recently has been discussion by a group of scientists in India that the decline of the bee can be directly related to the increase in cellular towers…

    grasping at straws?

    I think not.

  2. trish said,

    November 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Do you know what a cellular tower is? I don’t.

    I have been worried about bees for some time and have felt that it has been something that has been neglected for some’s as if we are not listening or heeding the warning signs.
    We do need to debate the issue of childbirth and population explosion but also the prolongation of life..I don’t know what the answer is, but I am sure that this end of our living must also become part of the debate…do we all want to live forever or trust the future of the earth to future generations and have faith that they will care for our planet?

    I do indeed teach some students who really do care about the future of the planet and do care about our bees , it gives me heart, hope and a precarious optimism that there are those who will try, I hope that they will take the ascendance.

    Well done for raising the issue here on your blog

    Lots of love Trish xx

  3. luckyloom1 said,

    November 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Trish,

    Mobile phone towers – it’s an interesting thought isn’t? Yes I agree, our extended life span is an issue too. Trying to get the balance right is a massive challenge for us all.

    It’s lovely to hear that some of your students are so aware – makes me feel hopeful too.


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