More Than Honey

More Than Honey is a documentary that discusses the declining bee populations in various places across the world, such as Switzerland and California. I watch a lot of documentaries pertaining to our food system, and I really enjoyed this film. The scenery was breathtaking, the story alarming. The film talks in depth about the declining bee populations, due to what is called Colony Collapse Disorder.

According to the USDA, “Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is syndrome defined as a dead colony with no adult bees or dead bee bodies but with a live queen and usually honey and immature bees still present. No scientific cause for CCD has been proven.” 80% of plant species need bees in order to be pollinated. What is so alarming, is that without bees there would be no pollination, (until something artificial was created of course).

“If bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would only have four years left to live.” -Albert Einstein 

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There are quite a few documentaries about the issue of declining bees.  Two, that I have seen are: Vanishing of the Bees and Who Killed All the Honey Bees, all of which create awareness, this is the first step in creating change.

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After watching this documentary, I wanted to do more research about any changes that have taken place to policy, or with the statistics regarding bee populations. I found the following on the EPA’s website,

“In 2007, USDA established a CCD Steering Committee with representatives from other government agencies, and academia. EPA is an active participant in the CCD Steering Committee. The Steering Committee has developed the Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan (PDF) (28 pp, 2 MB, About PDF). The plan has four main components:

  1. Survey/Data Collection to determine the extent of CCD and the current status of honey bee colony production and health.
  2. Analysis of Bee Samples to determine the prevalence of various pests and pathogens, bee immunity and stress, and exposure to pesticides.
  3. Hypothesis-Driven Research on four candidate factors including:
    • new and reemerging pathogens,
    • bee pests,
    • environmental and nutritional stresses, and
    • pesticides.
  4. Mitigative/Preventive Measures to improve bee health and habitat and to counter mortality factors.

In October 2013, the CCD Steering Committee hosted the national stakeholder conference on honey bee health. The conference brought together a broad group of stakeholders to examine the federal governement’s course of action to understand collony collapse disorder and honey bee health. Based on input from the stakeholders at this conference, the CCD steering committee is drafting a revised CCD and honey bee health action plan.”

“Once thought to pose a major long term threat to bees, reported cases of CCD have declined substantially over the last five years. The number of hives that do not survive over the winter months – the overall indicator for bee health – has maintained an average of about 28.7 percent since 2006-2007  but dropped to 23.1 percent for the 2014-2015 winter. While winter losses remain somewhat high, the number of those losses attributed to CCD has dropped from roughly 60 percent of total hives lost in 2008 to 31.1 percent in 2013; in initial reports for 2014-2015 losses, CCD is not mentioned.”

I am not sure if this truly means that the issues have been resolved, or if it is another government cover up. As far as social media, there are various hash tags campaigns on Twitter, such as #savethebees. Even if the populations have stopped declining, bees are essential to growing food. Even Morgan Freeman is taking a stand.

 

References:

1.) http://buy.morethanhoneyfilm.com

2.) http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572

 

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I am Malala

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I am Malala, is the story of Malala Yousafzai, a girl stronger than most. She was attacked by the Taliban, and survived to tell the story. The book tells about her family, education, how the Taliban arrived and how she became targeted. Her story makes you feel thankful for all that you have, and inspires you to do more. We all take life for granted, and it is stories like these, that really make you appreciate the little things.

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Malala is the youngest person to ever be awarded to Nobel Peace Prize.

She is a children’s and women’s rights activist with a focus on education.  She believes that,

“One Child, One Teacher, One Book, and One Pen, can change the world”.

Her 16th birthday July 12th (the first day she spoke after being attacked), was declared Malala Day. She also helped found the Malala Fund. “The Malala Fund’s goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. We work with partners all over the world helping to empower girls and amplify their voices; we invest in local education leaders and programmes; and we advocate for more resources for education and safe schools for every child”(1).

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“Only 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product is allocated to education. Pakistan spends seven times more on its military. According to a recent U.N. study, 5.1 million children are out of school—the second-highest number in the world—and two-thirds of them are female” (2).  The first step in creating change is through awareness, awareness is created through education. What better way to change the world then by providing education. Children and women need the tools to succeed, and according to Malala, education does just this. Malala is the change we need more of in this world.

 

For more on Malala, check out the documentary, He Named Me Malala.

1.) https://www.malala.org/

2.)  http://www.vanityfair.com/news/politics/2013/04/malala-yousafzai-pakistan-profile