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Bees in Our Heart

Alas, our technological evolution has marched ahead of our spiritual and social evolution, making us, frankly, a dangerous people.

I came across this quote on twitter. Unattributed. It has the ring of truth about it. Today, also on twitter, I became aware of Dave Goulson’s recent study which concluded that bumblebees are seriously impaired in their ability to collect pollen to feed their young. They suffer this because of the way we garden and farm, the way we live. In case you, personally, like us, are not a pesticide user, do not relax, please. It has all been happening in our watch and there’s no end in sight.

Nearly all bee news in the media are bad news, sad news. Disappearing bees, undernourished bees, sick bees, exploited bees. Contradictory science galore. It is hard, at times, to keep one’s spirits up. And yet, this is what we must do, keep our spirits up and work for the bees and through the bees in all ways we can. By “through the bees” I am describing merely how one can experience this work, in one’s better moments, when one can feel the bees persisting in the face of adversity, keen to get through to us with their crucial message : Connect with Nature or there will be no nature. Your world will be a different world. A world without bees.

We need to work hard for the bees, and find ways and means to engender more love for bees in the world, and also, to show real alternatives to what is still mainstream beekeeping practice, gardening practice, agricultural practice – largely inspired by fear, as one of our trustees, Gareth John, so aptly put it in the recent beekeeping debate in Stroud. Fear of nature. Clearly, we need more than what the proliferating “help the bees” programmes promise to deliver. We need to change, and ask the bees to help us in our painful struggles, in birthing a new consciousness.

Whatever one’s worldview, one may feel encouraged by the fact that the Biodynamic Agriculture Conference in Switzerland next week will be entirely devoted to the “Bee”, the exquisite honeybee, its place in the world, its inspiration and its suffering. More than five hundred people from all over the world will attend. And the waiting list comprises another hundred. Besides the three main talks by Michael Weiler, Peter Brown and Michael Thiele, several dozen people will present highlights from their life with bees, just that, fifteen minutes each. I look forward to the challenge of condensing the perpetual wonder of living with bees with its incessant highlights into fifteen minutes. Or be guided by the bees to pick out just one? And hope the bees will feel the benign effect of many people holding them in their hearts.

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