Life Without Bees

  Pallavi Ghosh, Vijayendra Pratap Singh |     July 15, 2019

What if one day you step into your house and find there is no food. The refrigerator is empty and you switch on the television to know more. A news channel tells you that there is a food crisis and the reason for this is that there are no bees left in the world. What may have sounded like a fictitious story some years ago may well become a reality we are headed towards in the near future.

A glimpse of this was also shown in the 2007 animated film called “The Bee movie”. In the movie, a young bee named Barry B Benson decides to stop pollinating due to the exploitation of bees for honey by humans. Soon the world's flowers begin to die out as the bees won’t pollinate and Benson realises his mistake. In the end, the bees of the world get back to work and ensure that flowers continue to bloom on our planet. The crisis is resolved.

Now, let us step into our real life. We know that the bee population is facing extreme threat due to climate change and like the movie, human actions are responsible for it. For the bees in particular, changes in the climatic conditions of our planet has meant loss of habitat, spread of disease and death due to the severe destruction of flora by natural disasters like droughts and floods.

What this means is that we may soon lose our most skillful pollinators who ensure our world is well-endowed with food. In 2016, farmers in China’s Sichuan province had to pollinate flowers by hand because of the drastic reduction in bee population in the region. So, what next?

Walmart, one of biggest retail companies in the world, came up with a solution to deal with the impending crisis of declining pollinators. In 2018, it developed “pollination drones” or robot bees to do the same work as actual bees. Consequently, Amazon—the biggest e-commerce company— also launched a drone that could be used for pollination.

But why switch to these drastic measures when we already have a natural army of bees who are effectively managing the world’s food supply? Instead of replacing the bees with drones and robots, we can protect them and work together to ensure the survival of all oraganisms on Earth.

Our current agricultural practices are based on a heavy use of chemicals (pesticides and insecticides) that cause great harm to the insect population, including bees. Therefore, by switching to ecological farming we can prevent the dawn of a post-bee apocalyptic world where there is an acute food crisis looming over every country in our world.

About the Author

Reporter-cum-Sub Editor (2018–2020), Gobar Times

Senior Designer, Art & design, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi (2018-2021)

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