Colony collapse disorder. The technical term for the disturbing new trend of disappearing bees. The Nature of Things on CBC begins its 2010 season with “To Bee or Not to Bee?”, a fascinating treatment of this odd and puzzling dilemma. In Germany, one case of bees dying in massive numbers was linked to a toxic new pesticide. Other possible causes include climate change, monoculture, fungal disease, parasites (mites), and even electromagnetic radiation.
Difficulties involved in this apiary crisis are quintessentially holistic and multi-factoral. This is archetypal of the issues we face in our modern environment — the kind of subtle, highly complex, interdependent, interactive conundrum that would have turned Rachel Carson’s hair white.
Yet we need to seek to solve these crises. In the case of bees, who are key pollinators in our modern agricultural system (which is problematic to begin with), our very survival may depend on it.