The BBC has an interesting article today that links the decline in bees in many countries to the decline in biodiversity. I agree with the article and have a further take on the subject.
Shock horror – bees are getting sick for exactly the same reasons as humans – they are eating a diet and getting stressed in ways that their systems weren’t evolved for – and the cause is the modern human environment, diet and lifestyle.
Just as we are increasingly eating a diet of processed sugars and carbohydrates – that come from fewer and fewer food sources so are the bees.
Note: Processed and reconstructed variations of corn and soy make up an increasing component of the diet of humans and animals, and this includes bees. One of the ironies is that bees have access to a more diverse diet in cities than they do in the country side – there is now more plant diversity in cities than in the modern farming countryside.
Bees no longer live in stable environments. The bee industry has been commercialised. Bees are now dragged all around the country in trucks to service different farms. This constant change and travel causes stress in much the same way as we humans are stressed by changing jobs, work environments and constant travel. And it should be no surprise that chronic stress weakens their immune systems in the same way as it does ours.
And, to supplement their bland diets and increased workloads, commercial bees are fed simple sugars in much the same way as we feed ourselves sweets, sugary drinks and coffee to keep ourselves going.
The problem for the bees, and poor humans, is that they don’t have choices like the well off humans do. Their environmental choices are set and limited by the environmental conditions created by the wealthy humans who own the businesses that create these environmental conditions and employ the less well off.
The bad news for the wealthy humans is that they are shooting themselves in the foot. If the bees die off the human species will die off too.
The downside of being at the top of the food chain is that we humans are dependent on the survival of the species lower down the food chain for our survival.
While the wealthy have the option of escaping climate change and environmental damage in the short run, by moving location and putting on the air con, the species on which our survival depends do not have this luxury.
99.9% of species that have been on this planet are extinct and we are now in the midst of the 6th great extinction. And this extinction is being caused by us humans.