“Plight of the Bumblebee”

Beekeepers have been getting a lot of face time on the evening news recently.

I only wish that their segment were at the end of the broadcast rather than at the beginning.

When stories about animals like the bee end up on the evening news, it’s usually quirky news stories at the end of the broadcast, like if a squirrel has learned how to water ski or if a dog has learned how to play Texas hold ‘em. They are usually the most random of stories, which are used to send the viewer off on some sort of a high note after all the “if it bleeds, it leads” news. The anchors use the video for a slightly shameless but more of a lighthearted banter that will undoubtedly sound something like this:

Anchor 1: Remind me not to invite Fido to my next Poker night. He’s really good, even if he can’t technically “hold ‘em.”

Anchor 2: It’s amazing stuff Jason, but at least Fido knows when to “fold ‘em”, I heard you aren’t very good bluffing.

Anchor 1: (Laughing) That may be true, but I do know that we’ll be back here tomorrow with more news in less time. Join us then, and thanks for watching. Good night folks.

As much as I really enjoy watching the local news for my information and a hearty belly laugh, I wish that the recent story about the honeybee was in that category rather than at the beginning of the show when all the scary stuff is going on.

I would hope that you have heard about how the population of honeybees has been diminishing drastically, causing both scientists and beekeepers great amounts of concern. The spreading epidemic started here in the states, moved across continental Europe, and has now gone into the United Kingdom.

Large percentages of bee colonies are just disappearing (they call it CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder), and the theories for why are getting as scary as they are seemingly random and far-fetched.

Arguments for why large portions of bee populations are disappearing quicker than Alberto Gonzales’ memory include Global Warming, pesticides, and most disturbingly, cell phones.

According to BBC and Associated Press reports, the theory is that radiation sent from cell phone towers to mobile phones are screwing up the bee’s navigation systems in their heads, causing them to lose track of their way back to the hive. Since they never find their way back to the hive, they die, and thus the reason (at least in some leading scientist’s minds) why the bee population has diminished 60% on the West Coast and 70% here on the East Coast.

If you’ve read any stories on this, you’ve undoubtedly read this quote from Albert Einstein, which states “if bees somehow disappeared, man will only have four years of life left.” So, if you want the cliffnotes version of why disappearing bees is a bad thing, it goes something like this: No bees = no pollination = no crops = no food, which of course that equals, us grabbing our proverbial ankles.

When I first got a cellphone, I remember joking to someone when I walked past the television and the signal becoming fuzzy that someday we are all going to have brain cancer because we have to yap on our cell phones, citing that anything that is this easy and convenient can’t possibly be a good thing in the long run.

Would we give up our cell phones if it meant saving our brain from a cancerous demise or the simple honeybee from extinction?

Would we give up the remote control for our television if it’s disappearance made morbid obesity a thing of the past?

Ask yourself, what convenience you would be willing to part with for the greater good.

It wasn’t that long ago when you had to do things like stand in one place when talking on the phone, actually remember a 10-digit phone number, and if you did have a cell phone, it was just small enough to fit in a backpack.

The fall of any empire in the world’s history usually came because people got too pampered on their own luxuries, or became too blinded by their own hunger for power and greed.

I realize that I am as much at fault as anyone else when it comes to cell phones. I was probably the last person I know to get one, but now it’s the only phone I have. There was even a short stint where I used one of those ridiculous “hands-free” earphones and talked louder than needed to show that I was on a phone call and not just a weird streetwalker that was blurting out things like “Do you want me to pick up chicken?” to seemingly no one in particular.

I think Bill Maher recently said it best when he said that the disappearance of the honeybee is one of many ways that Mother Nature continues to say to us “Can you hear me now?”

The problem with things like this is there won’t be one definitive study that everyone will get behind until it is too late. For every study that claims that one thing is happening, there is another that says the opposite.

We are sheep-like enough to get scared fairly easy, but aren’t assertive enough to make a change unless everyone else is doing it.

For instance, when did you stop eating carbs? Probably when Oprah did and the Atkins diet was all the rage, and not when the diet first came out in the 1970’s.

There is too much money to be made that if the cell phone theory concerning the bees was in fact true, we would never know. As for brain cancer and cell phones, there aren’t any definitive studies on the matter, since that would develop over time.

I wonder if cell phones are the new cigarettes and eventually, people are going to start dropping like flies.

An official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 percent more likely to get a brain tumor on the same side as they held their phone. Another Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today’s teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.

If the plight of the bumblebee is any indication, it might be time to give up a few things more harmful than carbohydrates, and for a bit longer than the normal diet lasts too.

I think our bluff about caring for anyone other than our own destructive appetites is being called out.

The question is whether we’ll fold, count our losses, and play another day?

Email me at domspino@yahoo.com