Thursday, June 07, 2007

Missing Bees

The disappearing honey-bees have been in the news for a while but this Washington Post article talks about something the most of the news coverage did not - the human emotional resonance to what is happening with the bees.

Our fuzzy, hard-working, sweetness-producing icons have become our most powerful Rorschach test.

As go the bees, so go our hopes and fears for the future.

No one knows for sure what is causing the bees to disappear yet it is a cause celebre and with good reason too as the author points out :

The disappearance of the bees nonetheless has mythic depth. It captures intuitions people have about the human condition. A hive is an organism, like a nation. It may be made up of individuals, but it produces results beyond the imagination of any one of its members. To think of one unraveling is profoundly unsettling.

What happens, then, if the beehive is unsustainable? Kelly wonders. Will the new hive mind of the Internet someday fly off while we are at lunch, leaving us suddenly dumb and alone?

What institutions are next?

Naturalist Barry Lopez wonders if the disappearance of the bees is a metaphor for the end of the federal government.

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