1 June 2019
The rapid industrial growth and development in China has been responsible for pollution on a massive scale. In rural China the use of pesticides has had a catastrophic impact on wildlife in general and pollinators in particular, to such a degree that in some parts of China there has been a total collapse of pollinators resulting in women and children having to pollinate crops by hand.
In response to the decline in pollinators globally and anticipating the extinction of many wild bee and insect populations, scientists and techno-wizards in the US, Canada and Europe have invented the first generation ‘BEEBOT’, a science-fiction type drone which will be used to pollinate crops when the last of our own wonderful pollinators have disappeared.
At the moment the BEEBOT is about the size of a paperback, makes a terrifying racket and can only fly about 600 meters before crashing to earth. In addition to its other failings, it doesn’t know much about how to pollinate so all things considered there is some way to go before farmers will employ it, possibly ten years or so.
As a species are we really so arrogant that we think that we can better than the natural world? Bees have been pollinating flowers for 120 million or more years; they’re extremely good at it. The idea that we could build something anywhere near as amazing, environmentally friendly and cost-effective is ridiculous.
Professor Goulson is a real advocate for bees, real bees. He says, ‘Think of it by the numbers; a bee feeds itself, reproduces relatively easily, and can visit about 1,000 flowers a day. There are about 40,000 bees in a hive, and about 80,000 honeybee hives around the world. But that’s also just one species of bee. There are about 20,000 bee species in the world, all pollinating flowers and crops somewhere or other.’
In short: look after the bees. Stop the insane way we are treating the natural world, the very thing that sustains us all.
Beeware of thinking science will sort it.
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