Tag Archive: CCD

Disappearing Bees? Re-appearing Karma

Neonicotinoid pesticides and Colony Collapse Disorder

 

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifer...

Honeycomb of Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) with eggs and larvae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Register reports on what seems to be a pretty good study from some guys at Stirling and Lancaster Universities in the UK.  The “boffin-years” worked (as The Register puts it) by them and another French team now have very good proof that it’s a group of pesticides, very lethal to insects but no-so-bad for mammals (like us) that are the cause of:

  • 85% reduction in queen (and thus new hive) production
  • 10% smaller hives
  • Disorientated bees – the bees can’t find their hive and die…
US migratory beekeepers loading tractor-traile...

US migratory beekeepers loading tractor-trailer load of bees for transport from South Carolina to Maine to pollinate blueberries.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) means for us, as humans, can be found in this information on bee economics which details a few major crops recently hit by declining bee numbers.  Further, this is a list of essential plants which are bee pollinated.  The ones which are marked as “Essential – can’t do without bees” are these highly important cash crops:

  • Squash (plant), Pumpkin, Gourd, Marrow, Zuchini Cucurbita spp. Honey bees, Squash bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees
  • Cantaloupe, Melon Cucumis melo L. Honey bees, Squash bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees (Ceratina spp.)
  • American Pawpaw Asimina triloba Carrion Flies, Dung Flies
  • Brazil nut Bertholletia excelsa Bumblebees, Orchid bees (Euglossini), Carpenter bees
  • Kiwifruit Actinidia deliciosa Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees
  • Atemoya, Cherimoya, Custard apple Annona squamosa Nitidulid Beetles
  • Watermelon Citrullus lanatus Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees
  • Passion fruit. Maracuja Passiflora edulis Carpenter bees, Solitary bees, Bumblebees,
  • Macadamia Macadamia ternifolia Honey bees, Stingless bees (Trigona carbonaria), Solitary bees (Homalictus spp.), Wasps,Butterflies
  • Sapodilla Manikara zapotilla Thrips
  • Cocoa Theobroma cacao Midges
  • Rowanberry Sorbus aucuparia Honey bees, Solitary bees, Bumblebees, Hover flies
  • Vanilla Vanilla planifolia, Vanilla pompona Solitary bees

Reasons, Nazis and Jews – What are Neonicotinoid Pesticides?

IG Farben

IG Farben (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many candidates for CCD and pesticides are just one possible or contributory factor.  Things like bee predators, mites, electromagnetic radiation, loss of habitat…. it’s quite a long list.

However, the two studies above seem to be pretty secure controlled studies that looked at one factor (the neonicotinoid pesticides), examining the bees in isolation both with and without the expected non-lethal local dosage of the chemicals so as to eliminate the other possible causes.

Wikipedia lists the major neonicotinoid pesticides, and below I match them to their inventor and/or current manufacturer:

  • Acetamiprid – Aventis (French conglomerate inc. Rhône-Poulenc, Hoechst and others)
  • Clothianidin – Bayer, Takeda
  • Dinotefuran – Mitsui
  • Imidacloprid (the most widely used insecticide in the world) – Bayer
  • Nitenpyram – Novartis (formed from Zeneca, Ciba-Geigy, Sandoz)
  • Thiacloprid – Bayer
  • Thiamethoxam- Bayer, Syngenta (another entity formed from Zeneca, Ciba-Geigy, Sandoz)
Fritz ter Meer (1884-1967) at the Nuremberg Tr...

Fritz ter Meer (1884-1967) at the Nuremberg Trials. Ter Meer was I.G. Farben official, member of NSDAP. This photograph of ter Meer (probably as a defendant) was taken by US Army photographers on behalf of the Office of the U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality (OUSCCPAC, May 1945 – Oct. 1946) or its successor organization, the Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes (OCCWC, Oct. 1946 – June 1949). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bayer

What’s interesting from this list is how often Bayer pops up in the neonicotinoid (a neuro-toxin) story.

It famously made Zyklon B, which made a poison gas and was one of the main methods of murdering Jews and others by the Nazis during WW2.  It did this under the conglomerate business name of IG Farben which was broken up post war by the allies into the original business entities, Bayer being one, and it’s still around now!

A Bayer (IG Farben) boss, Fritz ter Meer, served 7 years post WW2 for his crimes and then was immediately made supervisory board chairman of Bayer.  His crimes included designing a satellite concentration camp to Auschwitz.  Some Nazi industrialists & businessmen were executed, like Bruno Tesch.  Several other convicted Nazi War Criminals got high-powered jobs following their release, just like ter Meer.

Karmic Retribution

What I see as a reason for the bee decline ultimately relates to our overall karma.

It is not retribution against individuals directly.  The bad karma affects us all, now, because we have continued to allow processes to continue which harm ourselves and our environment.  The disappearing bees are just one manifestation of this.

Ter Meer got his nice job back at Bayer, probably because he was the best person to do it, especially at this critical period of rebuilding Germany.  We could say that he continued his life’s work of creating death by chemicals (which I’ve cunningly yet disingenuously alluded to in order to attract your attention!), but it must be remembered that alongside Zyklon B, the same businesses created many products which are essential to our productive farms and lifestyles.  Aspirin, for instance.  Fertilisers as another.

In fact, Fritz Haber, whose academic work was enthusiastically taken up at IG Farben and others, demonstrates the dichotomy of human nature by inventing chemical warfare while simultaneously inventing a process to fix nitrogen from the air to make fertiliser (or explosive, since it’s the same thing).  One gives life benefit, one removes it completely.  As it says on Wikipedia,

“The food base of half of the current world population is based on the Haber-Bosch process”

Haber’s karmic retribution was swift and fast.  Whether he knew or felt it is beside the point. It happened.

  • His wife shot herself because of her guilt over his personal supervision at the 1st gas release on the Western Front.
  • Their son who found her, was so appalled by this and his father’s actions, that he committed suicide in 1946 (like survivor guilt, I suppose.).
  • Haber was Jewish, rewarded by the Nazis who used his gas Zyklon A, developed into Zyklon B to murder Jews and others during the holocaust.
  • Many members of Haber’s extended family were killed in the Holocaust.

Direct Karmic Attention

A honeybee on an apiary, spreading feromones t...

A honeybee on an apiary, spreading feromones to ‘call back’ her collegues, showing her nassanoff-gland. Location: Tübingen-Hagelloch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But now we can easily see, that by continuing the bad processes, by continuing the bad ideas, by continuing the bad attitudes of the past, the actions of the past have started to hit us all full in the face.

Bees are just part of it.

Our disjointed energy & food policies of “live today, pay tomorrow” are just larger examples of the wider issue.

To fully understand how we should proceed in our lives and how we interact with others and our environment, we need look no further than some key Buddhist principles, laid out before us a very long time ago by Siddhārtha Gautama.  He said:

  1. right view,
  2. right intention,
  3. right speech,
  4. right action,
  5. right livelihood,
  6. right effort,
  7. right mindfulness,
  8. right concentration.

This is called The Noble Eightfold Path, and if we all paid attention to it and acted sincerely with it, then we’d all be a lot better off.

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This is Why We Needed the Orbiting Carbon Observatory Satellite

Fizzy Oceans Spell Doom

Orbiting Carbon ObservatoryAs an almost instananeous follow up (the interconnectedness of all things?) to my recent disappointment about the launch failure of the OCO satellite, the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph etc  have all been reporting some recent climate work from Plymouth.

An Italian Bay

There’s now so much CO2 being absorbed by the oceans that their pH is being significantly lowered.  A sea bay off Italy is giving us, in a microcosm,  a glimpse of real possible future conditions in the Earth’s oceans if the current accelerating rate of carbon dioxide climate forcing is continued.

The bay is volcanically located and CO2 bubbles up through the sea floor.  In all other respects, it’s a normal bit of the Mediterranean.  So it’s got a standard mix of fish, molluscs and vegetation, and the standard mix of predator-prey species.

Soft Limpet

Identified many years ago by Sir John Murray, the CCD is the ocean depth where dissolving calcium carbonate (like sea shells) matches the rate that calcium carbonate of either type (organic or non-organic) is deposited.  In the remote past it was very shallow and produced the huge beds of limestone and chalk like the white cliffs of Dover.  Or the Alps!  (the beds in the old Tethys Sea are over 30km thick!)

Now its quite a way down (over 4km!)

However, in the Italian bay, there’s so much CO2 that the sea is so acidic that it makes the CCD effectively zero!  The plants grow as a monoculture of sea grass on the abundant CO2.  The shell creatures (like limpets) can’t make their shells fast enough and they have no real protection.  Of course, for sea birds and similar predators, it’s a short term food bonanza.  But what happens when all the limpets are gobbled up and gone?  And what if you are a creature that can’t eat sea grass?

This, in a nutshell, is the problem we face with our whole world.  What will we eat when things don’t grow very well any more?  What will we do when we’ve gobbled up all our fossil fuels?

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