What is sacred about all of our lives, even those of us who would never dream of using such a word for it, is that God speaks to us through what happens to us - even through such unpromising events as walking up the road to get the mail out of the mailbox, maybe, or seeing something in the news that brings you up short, or laughing yourself silly with a friend. If skeptics ask to be shown an instance of God speaking to them in their lives, I suggest that they pay closer attention to the next time when, for unaccountable reasons, they find tears in their eyes.
-- Frederick Buechner

The Secret Loss of Bees

The Secret Loss of Bees

"Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees..."

It seems there ought to be a lot more buzz about our vanishing bees, about how EVERYTHING is connected and what that means to food and life everywhere.

They've named it Colony Collapse Disorder - the mysterious and increasingly frightening loss of bees due to disorientation and failure of bees to return to their hives, leading the the collapse of the hives. Over 25% of American bee colonies have collapsed, according to some reports.
"So far, colony collapse disorder has been found in 27 states, according to Bee Alert Technology Inc., a company monitoring the problem. A recent survey of 13 states by the Apiary Inspectors of America showed that 26 percent of beekeepers had lost half of their bee colonies between September and March."
    ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO in The New York Times, 4-24-07.

So... CCD. Colony Collapse Disorder.

That's what we do, of course. We name stuff. It's useful. Nothing wrong with that. It also makes stuff fit better into news tickers, sound bites and attention spans bred and conditioned for speed over depth.

One of the things that struck me this morning when I encountered the second story in less than a week about the loss of bees, this time in the New York Times, was the use of the word "Disorder". Again, not that there's anything wrong with that... Just that "disorder" carries a certain energy in our culture, and conjures up thoughts of cause, correction, potential "fixes", stuff I might wanna ask my doctor about, etc.

I know disorder is probably the most common word used for labeling health and other abnormalities, but many disorders can be managed or treated. Many become life conditions, with which one can learn to live effectively. The loss of bees is the loss of life on earth as we know it, so something in me wants to see a word like crisis, catastrophe or future-famine-indicator paired with the topic.

I don't want it to be a secret, or a trivial teaser tossed out by a poised news person in a tone that gives me just enough concern to "stay tuned after this break" but not enough to actually think about what such a story means to all life on earth.

Let's talk about the "SECRET LOSS OF BEES" - maybe even the Secret DEATH of Bees. Naming it that might at least get press for its subtle plagiarism of a well known, wonderful novel's title and get some conversations going about how serious this mysterious problem really is... How it wouldn't take a super flu or human plague or nuclear event to decimate human life on a global scale. How it shouldn't be a secret that all crops depend on pollination and pollination has become a big business most of us never heard about. How the balance of life, as strong and ferocious as it has been on this planet for millions of years, is dependent, in large part, on the billions of tiny buzzing, flying, fluttering creatures that connect all the flowers. How an unexplained 25% drop in bee population could lead to a drop in human and other populations.

Everything is connected to everything.

Karma isn't what some people think. It's just that everything really is connected to everything and eventually we experience some result of every action moving through the connectedness. Pulling on a loose thread unravels something, whether we see it or not. All extermination is affecting all life at some level.

Whether the loss of bees is due to cell phones, cell towers, pesticides, genetically modified crops, noise pollution, global warming, depleted uranium or any of a million other possibilities being offered up by researchers, bloggers and conspiracy theorists, loss is LOSS.

This one is big. We talk about the "food chain". We talk about the bees as the great pollinators being such a critical link in the food chain. One might imagine the conversation about the loss of bees being a critical break in a critical link of said food chain.

No. It's not like breaking a link in the food chain. It's like watching the base metal of every single link start to dissolve and disintegrate before our eyes, while we treat it like just one more news story among the already too many stories to catch and hold our collective attention.

Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons
(NYTimes.com free membership may be required for reading this article)
More than a quarter of the country’s bee colonies have been lost, and no one can say what is to blame.

From The New York Times: SCIENCE | April 24, 2007:
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