Friday, May 11, 2007

Where are the bees?

In a recent post from David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, I came across a quote purportedly from Einstein that to paraphrase -gave mankind as we know it, four years from the time there were no more bees to before the human race would vanish! It seems with no cross pollination the entire ecological system would fall apart and with it our existence. This quote was made in conjunction with his observation that many beekeepers around the world are apparently finding it difficult to keep enough bees in their hives to keep honey production going. Reduction rates of 50% to 60% were touted as being currently witnessed. If this is indeed true we are facing a crisis that has a window of opportunity to solve that could be much smaller than anything else we have had to deal with to date. This is alarming to anyone with eyes enough to see and a brain big enough to think that we as a species have changed things on our planet so much so with no consideration for the consequences that we may have indeed started a spiral into our very own non-existence! As a parent with the hope of someday attaining the merriment of grand parenting (i.e. the joy of enjoying children with none of the responsibility) this is obviously a big kink in the armor of my modest future plans. In speaking with several contemporaries about the many continuing developments that seem to be plummeting us into the abyss, I am disheartened by the universal attitude of helplessness that seems to be so prevalent amongst most of my generation ( the baby boomers) . What ever happened to the generation that wanted to change the world for the best. What happened to the mantras of peace, love and communal spirit. Well friends it seems to have been lost by way of the getting married, having children, obtaining that car loan and getting our condo or house with its related mortgage payments. In an effort to grow up and become part of the "real" world with all its inherent responsibilities, we capitulated our dreams and soul to others who we have let destroy the very world we want to raise our children in! Oh sure, we all lament, its those big businesses with their unscrupulous win at all costs practices that have made our environment into the precipitously dangerous place it has become. Or perhaps it is a result of political crony ism that we all believe is impossible to restrain. But is it really? And is it just this "they did it" attitude that has us all in the very predicament we find ourselves in right now?

My belief is that we ourselves are essentially to blame. And while I can see you all shaking your heads in tacit agreement you really don't believe it any more than I did. I still drive my Nissan Pathfinder with a tremendous 17 mpg on the highway. Even now when it is costing me $60 to fill the tank with regular I do it week after week (or actually every three or four days) with little or no action on my part to change this and I suspect you do similarly. What will it take for us to see that the bees are going and may not return! Do we need to see a world without color, fragrance, arboreal beauty before we realize we have gone too far ?

I have done some things in my business practice to try to build with a more earth friendly conscience. This is a start but it is not nearly enough. I expect to start to look into a more ecologically friendly vehicle. Perhaps a hybrid ( Whatever happened to those propane gas conversions for normal cars?). So what if I can't carry everything I might need to carry when I might need to carry it. I will cope and so must you! We all must make the effort and not tomorrow but right now. Today in whatever way we can. And we must all stop bitchin' and moanin' about all of them.....because my friends we are the enemy within. We grant the power to those whom we elect to be stewards of our resources and when we do so with such complacency we have no one to blame but ourselves. So we must be diligent in our careful evaluation of those of us to whom we grant such authority and when we see them going astray from the goals and ideals that we hold true and sacred we have a moral obligation to not let it linger and fester and spoil. We can n longer afford to stand by idly while the earth is ravaged by our ill-chosen delegates of profiteering and greed. We must use the power of the purse, sometimes even at our own personal detriment, to speak to those purveyors about what it is we value and what it is we eschew.

It is also our obligation to see to it that enough money and effort is spent on our an our children's behalf to fund research that defines the most effective path to solving our energy and environmental problems (which seem to be inescapably joined like Siamese twins) and to establish a Manhattan project type impetus to solving these problems now. It is unfathomable to me that we can spend such inordinate amounts of our national wealth on such low priority matters ( fill in the blanks with your favorite pork barrel project) and yet have such pressing issues be scantily provided for by meager apportionment's that only pay lip service to actually trying to solve them in this century. We must all join forces and become the activists we once aspired to be as in the days of the Weathermen, The Black Panthers, The Chicago Seven and even the Woodstock Generation, a fledgling Greenpeace and an good intentioned Peace Corps. . While I did not aspire to some of these radical notions at the time, they all represented a firebrand zeal that seems to be missing in our present souls. I for one, miss the passion of being so thoroughly inspired by the principal and righteousness of the cause that the inconvenience to everyday life is not even an afterthought. We have the power to change for the better and change now! We are a bright and able generation that did not have the burden of a major world war to carry on our shoulders as our parents before us so brilliantly geared up for and overcame. As a recent article I read mentioned, when we started WWII we had virtually no air force to speak of and by the time the war was over we were cranking out bombers by the dozens on a daily basis. Our capacity is enormous and should be duly employed for such good. We brainstormed atomic energy in a few short years and we now have the computing power hereto for not even imagined; and with Moore's Law in play we are growing our technological achievements exponentially! So why not direct these resources to save our planet now before it is too late!

And so when sometime in the near future one of our grandchildren ask us what is that yellow insect buzzing around that beautiful flowers, we can reply with pride ...That is a bee, honey, we almost lost them all.

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