“The idea of a self-adjusting market implies a stark Utopia. Such an institution can not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it will physically destroy man and transform his surroundings into a wilderness.” — Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time.
Aug 26, 2008
Bayer CropScience is facing scrutiny because of the effect one of its best-selling pesticides has had on honeybees.
A German prosecutor is investigating Werner Wenning, Bayer’s chairman, and Friedrich Berschauer, the head of Bayer CropScience, after critics alleged that they knowingly polluted the environment.
The investigation was triggered by an Aug. 13 complaint filed by German beekeepers and consumer protection advocates, a Coalition against Bayer Dangers spokesman, Philipp Mimkes, said Monday.
The complaint is part of efforts by groups on both sides of the Atlantic to determine how much Bayer CropScience knows about the part that clothianidin may have played in the death of millions of honeybees.
by Brit Amos
Global Research, March 25, 2008
‘Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North}America’s crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize’.1
This essay will discuss the arguments and seriousness that affects the massive deaths and the decline of Bee colonies in North America. As well, it will shed light on a worldwide hunger issue that will have an economical and ecological impact in the very near future.
There are many reasons given to the decline in Bees, but one argument that matters most is the use of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and Terminator seeds that are presently being endorsed by governments and forcefully utilized as our primary agricultural needs of survival. I will argue what is publicized and covered by the media is in actuality, masking the real problems of Terminator seeds and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
Terminator seeds; genetically produced and distributed by powerful multinational lobbies manipulate government and agricultural policy to encompass their agenda of dominance in the agricultural industry. American conglomerates such as Monsanto, Pioneer Seeds, and others, have created seeds that do not reproduce (whereas these seeds have a life span of the crop chosen). The sterilizing of the plant by the means of sterilizing the flower pollen genetically altered and mutated for production in the agricultural industry. Logic states that if the flower pollen is sterile, bees are potentially going malnourished and dying of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the of the digestive capacity of what they feed on through the summer and over the winter hibernation process.
I will argue that the media’s publications distract the civil population of the true cause of the Colony Collapse of Bees. As such, outlined are four major arguments in which the conglomerates of GMO’s and terminator seeds use to redirect public awareness concerning the truth about the demise of the bees. These arguments include Varroa mites, parasites, cell phones, and terminator seeds
Argument 1: Varroa mites2
Firstly, while there are some people who want to pin the blame on these mites, such views are unconvincing in that the argument does not make any sense because the main source of disease for these bees is intestinal disease. In fact, ‘many bee experts assumed Varroa mites were a major cause of the severe die-off in the winter of 2005. Yet when researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, traveled to Oakdale, California, where Anderson and a number of his fellow beekeepers spend winter and spring, they could find no correlation between the level of Varroa mite infestation and the health of bee colonies. ‘We couldn’t pin the blame for the die-off on any single cause,’ says Jeff Pettis, a research entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland,3 However, treatments against mites may be leaving hives open to the onslaught of powerful pathogens, much in the same way the overuse of antibiotics lead to super bugs in society today. What does that say about our future? We have learned that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, among other human ailments, DDT was a major cause of cancer in humans and animals; however, the substitution of such pesticides was a closely guarded secret. Unfortunately, the long term effects on the human population has yet to be understood as the compromise of the immune system may be happening quicker than we are ready to accept, even regarding the advent of super bugs. One can see that even this medical implication has severe economical implications.
Argument 2: Parasites
Secondly; Crops and even hedges, verges, and woodlands, and even where bees remain are sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals are the practical extension of an exasperating belief that nature is our enemy. Pouring poison on our food is a very simplistic way of dealing with our problems however it ignores the root causes. “New genetically modified crops, designed to be immune to certain pesticides and herbicides, have resulted in the increased usage of these chemicals. Pesticides, particularly Bayer’s imidacloprid, a nicotine-based product marketed under the names Admire, Provado, Merit, Marathon, and Gaucho have been concretely implicated4 in the destruction of bee populations before (see also)5. The fact that other bees and insects are not raiding deserted hives to feed on the honey as they normally would lends some credence to the theory of a toxic overload. The toxic overload is certainly a concern, but wouldn’t it also need to be considered that this is systematic in the degeneration of the digestive process, such as in humans inability to digest preservatives and not absorb the enzymes to break down the foods eaten for survival?
Argument 3: cell phones
Thirdly, there was also a misconstrued study on cell phone radiation 6 and its effects on the bee’s ability to navigate which turned out to be an over-zealous unthinking reaction by an article in the Independent news. Some have also mentioned other navigational hindrances such as UV radiation, shifting magnetic fields and even quantum physics7 as a reason to the destruction of the bees.
There is certain implications to this theory, and it has been proven that electromagnetic radio wave lengths to affect the navigation of the bees. However the sun emits radiation spurts all the time, yet this has not offered a hindrance to the bees.
Argument 4: Terminator Seeds
Lastly, ‘Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments to accept the testing and commercialization of “Terminator” crop varieties. These seeds are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds, which farmers cannot replant, also to mention that the bees that are trying to collect pollen, found to have their digestive tract diseases, such as amoeba and nosema disease’8. These diseases are mainly located in the digestive tract system. After studies of the autopsy, the most alarming trait is that the lower intestine and stinger have discolored to black vs. the normal opaque color, Synominus with colon cancer in humans.
Figure 1: Extreme discoloration of intestinal tracts of bees.
‘When thoracic discs were cut from sample Georgia A-2 the musculature of bees was notably soft and discolored (A) when compared to healthy thoracic cuts (B).
This discoloration suggests that the bees were dead upon collection. When questioned the beekeeper confirmed that the bees were alive at the time of collection. Further, the tracheal system of these bees did not show signs of desiccation usually associated with the collection of dead bees. Thoracic discs from this sample, after being placed in KOH for 24 hours, revealed peculiar white nodules”9
As seen above, it is certain that the digestive shutdown is due to hard material in the digestive tract that compromises the immune system. Circulatory problems would without doubt. Could it be that humans are going through the same process with the rise of Colon Cancer? As seen below in the comparison of the healthy Bee and the unhealthy bee, it is obvious that the bees that are ingesting GMO pollen are having severe digestive problems, so severe that the disease is terminal.
Figure 2: Digestive shutdown of the Honey Bee
The rectal contents of Georgia bees (A) were distinctly different then the contents of Pasadena bees (B). The rectal walls of GA bees were notably transparent revealing contents that looked like small stone packets (C). While Fyg (1964) describes similar stone like contents in poorly laying queens, the stones observed in the GA bees were not attached to the epithelium layer as Fyg (1964) describes. When these packets were ground and mounted, some unidentified floating objects (UFO’s) were observed. A cubic particle that resembles the cubic bodies of polyhedrios viruses (this viruses attacks wax moths) excepting that the cube observed was ~10x too big for a virus particle. There were fragments of pollen grains husks in all samples examined. All PA samples were found to have nosema spores in their rectal contents while none of the GA samples did. In two samples, epithelial cells were packed with spores.10
The North American reliance on bees for pollination is at minimum from 30 to 40%. Does it not seem obvious that the digestion of foreign genetic agriculture directly affects the digestive process of the bees. Could it also be that there are similarities in the human population digestive process? It must also be noted that this increased epidemic of the bee colony collapse has risen significantly since the use of GMO agriculture in our foods. It is also suspect in the rise of new cases of medical ailments in humans such as colon cancer, obesity, heart disease, etc… In the writers’ opinion, the inability of the bees to pass matter digestively is quite similar to the present problems in the human digestive system
The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins. This is problematic, as there is such an increase of indigestible foods in humans and bees. The situation of colon cancer in humans is somewhat similar in occurrence. This is only a theory but leaves one to wonder what are we eating en mass. The external or complementary good of the bee is obviously a rise for a global concern. The long-term economical and environmental impact has yet to be completely understood.
The Ecological Impact of horizontal gene transfer and increase of rampant disease is not fully examined and if so, is kept silent by these Conglomerates. The Economic Impact of the Colony collapse would mean higher inflation, scarcity of agricultural goods, and ultimately the collapse of North America Agriculture Business.
The Environmental Impact of scarcity and increased demand for resources, will beyond doubt have severe repercussions for our long-term food security. The bio-diversity of the bees causes positive economic and ecological externalities. The negative externalities have yet to be fully grasped or understood.
Organic crops: still relatively untouched
The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced. The economic impact that the scarcity of bees will potentially have on our society as a whole is very worrisome. In the end, only our children will fully realize; that it was greed that destroyed our beautiful blue planet.
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By Jasper Copping
12:01am GMT 20/01/2008
Honeybees will die out in Britain within a decade as virulent diseases and parasites spread through the nation’s hives, experts have warned.
Whole colonies of bees are already being wiped out, with current methods of pest control unable to stop the problem.
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) said that if the crisis continued, honeybees would disappear completely from Britain by 2018, causing “calamitous” economic and environmental problems.
It called on the Government to restart shelved research programmes and to fund new ones to try to save the insects.
Tim Lovett, the association’s president, said: “The situation has become insupportable and the Government is unwilling to take steps to avoid disaster.
“We’re increasingly unable to cope with threats as they arise. No bees means a huge cost to agriculture, without touching on the ecological and environmental issues. We’re facing calamitous results.”
Last year, more than 11 per cent of all beehives inspected were wiped out, although losses were higher in some areas.
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Sept 2, 2007
May 9, 2007
Albert Einstein once said, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left.”
Why? Because without bees, plants don’t get pollinated. Without pollination, say good by to fruits, nuts, and some vegetables. We also won’t have natural oils (such a s olive oil, sunflower oil, hemp oil, etc.). We also won’t have many natural fibers, such as cotton.
You can see how important the bee is to our livelihood and existence.
According t o the latest report from the American Beekeeper Federation there’s been an unexplained collapse of beehives in the country and world, with entire colonies being wiped out.
Maryann Frazier, apiculture extension associate at Penn State University, says “ Since the beginning of the year beekeepers from all over the country have been reporting unprecedented losses. The losses are staggering: one beekeeper lost 11,000 of his 13,000 colonies; another virtually all of his 10,000. The problem is so large, beekeepers are starting to wonder if their industry can survive.”
Frazier calls the die off “Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).”
Dennis Van Enelsdorp is acting state apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, says, ‘Preliminary work has identified several likely factors that could be causing or contributing to the die off. Among them are mites and associated diseases, some unknown pathogenic disease and pesticide contamination or poisoning.
In other words, they don’t really know what’s killing the bees.
One local beekeeper and honey distributor said his bees had not suffered nearly as much as everyone else’s.
“The difference” he said, “Is that most beekeepers feed their bees a ‘sugar water’ syrup, but I don’t feed mine that.”
Here’s the rub: “Sugar water” nowadays means high fructose corn syrup. And nearly 100% of non-organic corn is genetically modified (GM).!
Most genetically modified corn contains Bt genes. The Bt gene is a pesticide. Its gene is inserted into corn DNA so the corn can produce Bt to kill bugs that eat the corn.
This can’t explain the widespread loss of bees. Not all beekeepers feed their bees. And bees don’t pollinate corn. So all of them can’t be dying from genetically modified corn or corn sweetener.
On November 17, 1997 the Bangkok Post reported some worrisome news. Some 30% of bees in the vicinity of a trial of Bt cotton in Thailand died.
Professor Hans-Heinrich Kaatz, a leading German zoologist, conducted a four-year study on bees picking up pollen from genetically modified rapeseed (a.k.a. canola oil). The professor examined the microorganisms in the intestinal tubes of the young bees. He found that when the bee ingested the alien gene, the gene that was in the pollen was transferred to bacteria living in the gut.
“The results indicate that we must assume that changes take place in the intestinal tubes of people and animals. The crossover of microorganism takes place and people’s make-up in terms of micro-organisms in their intestinal tract is changed. This can therefore have grave health consequences.”
The problem is only going to get worse.
A local beekeeper, Ray, told of the bitter fight the beekeepers had with the agribusiness interests over genetically modified or GMO. The big Agricultural Company, Monsanto, bamboozled the farm owners into believing that they couldn’t compete without GMO.
The beekeeper told the farmers that their farms might go under if the bees were wiped out.
Ray believes CCD is a combination of new things that are weakening the gene pool of the bees. Bees never had experienced pesticides and GM-associated substances before.
Feral (wild) bees tend to be very hardy creatures. They are now also disappearing.
Experts maintain that bees require a protein-rich diet, as found in pollen.
GMO can derange their immune systems with a cascade of proteins they’ve never before encountered. The changes can wreak havoc on their bodies and the hives.
There are other GMO agents in pollen that are foreign to bees besides Bt. Any one of them could weaken their immune systems.
They could become vulnerable to almost anything, including the mites researchers know are ravaging some hives.
Are we facing a collapse of our food production thanks to the destruction of our friendly pollinators?
It would seem likely, and GM crops are major contributor to the problem, and we just don’t know how widespread it is or how soon it will have a major impact on our worldwide food supply.
It would seem that GM crops are the greatest threat to our planet that we have ever seen. A calamity of Biblical proportions may be in its early stages.
Years ago, scientists from all over the world urged all governments to suspend all environmental releases of GM crops and to ban patents on organisms, seeds and cell lines.
Contact your elected officials and demand an immediate moratorium on planting GM crops until it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that friendly insect populations aren’t disrupted by GMO.
Demand that all GM crops be so labeled on store shelves. Please buy organic only.
Tell Monsanto how you feel by withholding your dollars from all their products.
DO NOT consume any non-organic corn products (chips, tortillas, etc.) Or processed items which contain corn sweetener (high fructose corn syrup). You could ingest the transforming Bt gene.
Legislation must be passed holding corporations and their stockholders financially and legally responsible for all damages that result from the escape of their “patented” genes.
If they can receive the benefit of riches from a patent for their deeds, they should also have the duty to pay the piper when problems arise.
Be assure, problems are coming, whether it’s the end of honeybees or a parallel GM calamity.
Join in the fight for out food. Call your Congressman, Senator, and state representative today!
The easiest way to contact your representatives is to visit the websites http://www.house.gov/wwriterep/ (For the House) and http://www.senate.gov/gneral/contact_informatiton/senators_cfm.cfm (For the Senate). Both allow you to search (by zip code) for your representatives. They give phone numbers and addresses for both DC and local offices. They have web forms you can fill out and send for easy contact. And you can even schedule an appointment with some.
For those of you not residing in the USA, please contact the appropriate authorities in your respective countries.
Please repost this as a bulletin or a blog so it will go to all your MySpace friends until it reaches even beyond the limits of Myspace and reaches the political and bureaucratic incompetents in pay of big business that rule the modern world.
By Tom Engelhardt
July 29, 2007
It’s true that no single incident or development — no matter how out of the ordinary or startling — can straightforwardly be attributed to climate change. Nonetheless, it seems strange that the massive flooding in England, of a sort last seen more than 60 years ago, led the TV news and made front pages here with hardly a mention of global warming. You certainly won’t see a headline like this one from the British Telegraph: “Floods show global warming is here.”
And yet this has been “the wettest May to July period for England and Wales since records began in 1766.” The recent “Great Flood of July” in southern England followed a somewhat similar June event in the north. As parts of the country are still submerged in the wake of torrential, tropical-style deluges (a month’s worth of rain fell in a few hours), while record extremes of heat “roast” central and southern Europe, the subject of climate change is certainly on European minds — and a group of scientists are evidently going to release a study in the journal Nature this week that claims “more intense rainstorms across parts of the northern hemisphere are being generated by man-made global warming.”
No American media figure, for instance, has wondered publicly whether, someday, England could become, in Gore-like “inconvenient truth” terms, the partially sunken Florida of Europe (along undoubtedly with Holland and other low-lying areas of the continent). It’s no less true that a season of startlingly widespread and fierce wildfires, based on long-term drought in the West, Southwest, and Southeast has been a news leader for months — the TV news just adores the imagery of storms and fires — again, most of the time, with little linkage to larger possible changes underway. We are, it seems, a resistant species when it comes to thinking about the need to truly reorganize ourselves on this fragile, but resilient, planet of ours.
And yet, even when no good TV images are produced and the changes are far more subtle, climate chaos is already pushing stressed ecosystems in new and unpredictable directions. It seems indisputable that, if we are going to weather (literally) the punches Mother Nature throws our way, we will need to do more than improve evacuation routes when storms hit or put more firefighters on the line when parched lands ignite. We will also have to reconsider how we deal with the natural world — at present, largely as a collection of commodities to be endlessly manipulated for profit and convenience or as a set of touring destinations.
So think of Chip Ward’s essay that follows as a challenge to just such thinking. It might as easily have been entitled, “Why the Organizing Principle of Industrial Civilization Is Just a Big Misunderstanding.” Taking up a recent, startling development in the commercial world of nature — the collapse of bee colonies across the U.S. — it explores ways in which our cult-like devotion to the notion of making all things efficient has become dysfunctional, even dangerous.
Ward, whose most recent Tomdispatch essay on the homeless world of the public library created a modest sensation — he was then just retiring as a library administrator — is well-known in his area as a grassroots activist working on toxic and radioactive waste issues. His early writing, especially his book Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West, focused on how to make polluters accountable. Recently, he moved to the remote wilds of southern Utah where he has had to cope with some of nature’s inevitable disturbances — wildfires and flashfloods — that have made him think about how recovery from such disturbance happens and how we might help recovery along (and so help ourselves as well). Tom
Diesel-Driven Bee Slums and Impotent Turkeys
The Case for Resilience
By Chip Ward
Resilience. You may not have heard much about it, but brace yourself. You’re going to hear that word a lot in the future. It is what we have too little of as our world slips into unpredictable climate chaos. “Resilience thinking,” the cutting edge of environmental science, may someday replace “efficiency” as the organizing principle of our economy.
Our current economic system is designed to maximize outputs and minimize costs. (That’s what we call efficiency.) Efficiency eliminates redundancy, which is abundant in nature, in favor of finding the one “best” way of doing something — usually “best” means most profitable over the short run — and then doing it that way and that way only. And we aim for control, too, because it is more efficient to command than just let things happen the way they will. Most of our knowledge about how natural systems work is focused on how to get what we want out of them as quickly and cheaply as possible — things like timber, minerals, water, grain, fish, and so on. We’re skilled at breaking systems apart and manipulating the pieces for short-term gain.
Think of resiliency, on the other hand, as the ability of a system to recover from a disturbance. Recovery requires options to that one “best” way of doing things in case that way is blocked or disturbed. A resilient system is adaptable and diverse. It has some redundancy built in. A resilient perspective acknowledges that change is constant and prediction difficult in a world that is complex and dynamic. It understands that when you manipulate the individual pieces of a system, you change that system in unintended ways. Resilience thinking is a new lens for looking at the natural world we are embedded in and the manmade world we have imposed upon it.
In the world today, efficiency rules. The history of our industrial civilization has essentially been the story of gaining control over nature. Water-spilling rivers were dammed and levied; timber-wasting forest fires were suppressed; cattle-eating predators were eliminated; and pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics were liberally applied to deal with those pesky insects, weeds, and microbes that seemed so intent on wasting what we wanted to use efficiently. Today we are even engineering the genetic codes of plants and animals to make them more efficient.
Too often we understand the natural systems we manipulate incompletely. We treat living systems as if they were simple, static, linear, and predictable when, in reality they are complex, dynamic, and unpredictable. When building our manmade world on top of those natural systems, we regularly fail to account for inevitable natural disturbances and changes. So when the “unexpected inevitable” occurs, we are shocked. Worse, we often find that we have “all our eggs in one basket,” and that the redundancy we eliminated in the name of efficiency limits our options for recovery. This applies to manmade systems, too.
Our efficient energy and food systems are perfect examples of how monolithic and brittle our infrastructure can become. Political turmoil in the Middle East, storms ravaging offshore oil wells, refinery fires, terrorism, and any number of other easily imaginable, even inevitable disruptions send gas prices soaring and suddenly our oil-dependent economy is pitched into a crisis. Because there is no readily available alternative to how we fuel our way of life — no resilience — our dependence on fossil fuels leaves us especially vulnerable to crisis. Our food system is likewise vulnerable, since it is so dependent on oil-based fertilizers and pesticides and relies on cheap and consistent supplies of gas for farm machinery and shipping.
Redundancy — alternative energy sources, for example -– would have left us options to fall back on in a time of such crisis. We did not develop those options, however, because they weren’t considered “competitive.” That is, if one energy source is cheaper to produce than others — ignoring, of course, all the associated and unacknowledged environmental and health costs — then that is the predominant energy source we will use to the exclusion of all others. Decades ago, oil and coal were cheap and so we constructed an entire energy infrastructure around those resources alone. (Nuclear squeaked through the door only because it was so heavily subsidized by government.) Solar and wind couldn’t compete according to the rigid market criteria we applied, so those sources hardly exist today. We are still told that we will get them only when they become more competitive.