Bees

Recently I saw a CBS story about the strange mystery of the bees. It seems that we have another ‘horrible’ to add to the growing list of threats to life as we know it. The facts are that a lot of honeybees are disappearing in what is being called the “Colony Collapse Syndrome”. I have no idea what this means from a biological point of view, and I gather the phenomenon of billions of bees disappearing has the scientists stumped as well. But whatever the cause, a lot of folks are getting concerned because the honeybees are the workers that pollinate a good piece of our food chain. It was reported that about one in three bites of food are directly linked to the honeybee.

Okay, another thing for an already ‘numbed’ population to worry about. More and more I am coming to the view that, while we don’t know what will kill us, something will … and probably sooner than later. This sort of chatter in my head goes on all the time, like CNN (except without commercials). I wonder how many of us notice that we have this little voice in our heads that is a non-stop commentary or inquiry into just about everything that is going on. When something else comes along that we had not even considered, our internal conversation just adds it (or ignores it) and keeps on chugging along.

I noticed this yesterday. I was writing a letter of endorsement for Volunteer Vancouver about a strategy to enroll, educate, challenge and empower large numbers of 55+ volunteers. It seems that many of the organizations that consume volunteer time don’t really use them for much other than ‘helping’ around the office, raising money or relatively mundane tasks. There are few places that look to volunteers for leadership.

What I noticed was that I was busily promoting my ideas about empowering volunteers to take more responsibility in the community and the world and here was this life-or-death story about the future of our food supply and it didn’t raise much more than a ‘blip’ on my screen. It was just another ‘canary in the mine shaft’ that hasn’t killed us yet. I was (and am) alarmed at how nonchalant and matter-of-fact I have become—and I think of myself as fairly responsible and on top of what is happening around me.

I confess, I am totally at a loss about where to start, who to call or write to, where to volunteer or even who to send money to. And this is just one of hundreds of ‘bee story’ type issues and concerns that are communicated in the online and traditional media channels every day. The pull is to just shrug it off, live my life as comfortably as possible, and hope and pray that it will all work out.

I am beginning to get an inkling that there is a parallel between how I am coping with my own process, fears, insights and aspirations as I age and how the world is dealing with the increasingly likely possibility that this collective experiment called ‘human being’ may not go on forever either. While I am sure I won’t be around to see how the story turns out, I wonder if we can learn something from exploring our own personal relationship with mortality and how it might illuminate or enlighten us in how to relate to our larger world and all its breakdowns.

Perhaps the ‘aging’ of the human population is just a manifestation of the ‘aging’ of the ‘human enterprise’—part and parcel of the cycle of birth and death that comprises evolution. The only questions to focus on are how we will live today and how we will use the time we have as an expression of our ‘being’ alive. Perhaps I will spend less time fretting about the state of the world and more time expressing myself and participating with others to make whatever difference seems achievable at the moment.

For now, I am going to pray for the bees and write my Congressman to support the Department of Agriculture and other institutions to do whatever they can to get to the bottom of this phenomenon. I am once again reminded of the “Serenity Prayer”:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

0 thoughts on “Bees”

  1. That’s a nice piece of writing. I’m totally with you a 100% on everything – I too have often felt at a loss to help the community and the world at large. I decided to take action and do what I could to help. So, I started Save the Blank, a site where I design 4 tshirts around a particular cause, and then have $5 from each shirt I sell donated to a charity supporting that cause. My first series is devoted to Saving the Bees! I think the next one might raise money to fight global warming, but I’m not sure yet.

    I will say everytime I sell a tshirt, it makes me feel like I made a difference. Maybe you should start up your own charity type thing, and tackle the problems you want, how you want?

    Anyway, I’d love it if you check out my site. Take care, and hang in there!

    Ryan
    http://www.savetheblank.com

  2. The mystery of the “bees” is one that comments directly on the times in which we live. a couple of months ago the man who helped write Al Gore’s award winning documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ came to speak at our school. He said that although we can do little things to resolve the issues of global warming that we are in fact living at a very unique point where species are dying off and some even killing themselves. This is directly related to the bee story in that the bee’s are being threatened for several reasons. Some believe that it is due to the many genetically modified foods that are causing the protein in the wave to not be fit for hive construction while others blame cell phones for interferring with the natural wave patterns of bees. Has the desire for knowledge now threatened the future which we are learning for? Is are addiction to information distribution and communication responsible for the death of a momumental aspect of our ecosystem? How are you connected? Aren’t we all responsible?

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