Victory, most probably pyrrhic, for the bees last week in a San Francisco Court that ruled against the EPA’s approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, specifically sulfoxaflor, a Dow chemical product that confuses bees flight patterns, according to the New Scientist. Apparently succumbing to “public pressure” (Dow’s money and agricultural lobby?), the EPA approved the use of the chemical without enough viable support, tactfully stated as “flawed data.” This despite the known harm to not only bees but all pollinators, other insects and even birds.
The upshot: Fuck the bees. There’s money to be made.
But can we live without the bees?
They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops.
The battle for the bee is not won, however. Though one of these nenicotinoids have been banned in the U.S., they have not been banned in Europe or elsewhere. Bees do not stay in one place. And other harmful pesticides are still in use–just not sulfoxaflor.
And while pesticides are only one of the causes for the dwindling bee population, they are a big contributor, one that can be controlled by human intervention. So hooray for the court’s decision last week, but so much more needs to be done.
Who will speak for the bees?
Workhorses of a seething-bustling,
and alien world that we barely see
its glory and gore
acidic stew of swallow
and cilia claws
but for the infrequent frightful protrusion,
threatening a sting,
or a siphon
sipping the living juices of us,
savagery in the encounter.
And yet they sustain those who would crush them,
self-defense or not,
fill the undergirding of our world with germinating life,
exchange and commerce in wildflowers of the fields,
manicured gardens of urban rooftops
and edges of the sand dunes.
They nourish us with sweet meats
of the trees
and gifts of the earth’s panoply of gallant beauties
pageantry of roses, peonies and daffodils,
and green godly goodness of cabbage cool,
beans of the vine
and broccoli floret
the browns of nutty seas.
You, pinpoint friend, swap the day away,
flitting from one sweet hollow to the next
and dusting yourself with your wares,
plying your trade
and all we breathe better for it
respire by your daily toil,
though your armies are micro
smallest of the small,
and most benign.
Some will warn
not to watch,
not to near
our swelling flesh worse for the encounter.
Carpenters of the Carribbean,
homed amid the yuccas
while others gnaw at our backyard decks right here.
Crow swims in sunflowers and black-eyed Susans,
carpeting himself the golden sun,
while sumptuous sand specialists
hang in the hills of North Carolina
or the Eastern Shore dunes,
skimming the edges for life.
drinks from his nose of a tongue,
buzzing about the Badlands,
sucking up sweets from the wells of bells,
trumpet trollops of honey delight,
a piña colada of rum and pineapple pollen bits.
But big old bombus and Metallica and modest-us,
modest in size,
half a rice grain wide,
who carries her goods inside,
a vomitous gift
her babies survive
or they die
Health of heart,
health of earth,
home to hordes
4000 kinds strong
all native North American
only 40 left home
to honeycomb here
home to homo-cides
if they are we are.