The Bee Catastrophe


Started reading A Spring Without Bees last night. If you haven't heard about the insane number of bees dying off...where have you been? This book explains possible reasons for their disappearance, and what this means to us as humans. 

And so it's no real surprise that the simplistic and crude ways we've taken to using chemicals are now helping to do them [the bees] in. Think about the humming, unfolding, minutely timed operation of a bee colony, and then compare it with the blunt stupidity of some new agrochemical industry compound designed, well, to kill everything with six legs. Are you really surprised that they end up killing more than we want them to?

The reason for all those pesticides, of course, is that we've replaced human labor on the farm with fossil fuel and chemicals--allowed our agriculture to become huge, industrial, monocultural. It's given us cheap food--and also impoverished rural communities, poisoned water, lots of extra carbon in the atmosphere and lots of extra inches around our middles. And  maybe no more bees.
Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything changed. ...It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices, there was now no sound; only silence lay yover the fields and woods and marsh...The apple trees bloomed but no bees droned among the blossoms, so there was no pollination and there would be no fruit...No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves...

Concerning Bees in Ancient Egypt...
It was early recognized that the words for bee, Red Crown, and honey, all of which were read the same way, whether as n.t, bi.t orḫb.t,16 all had feminine endings, the crown itself being "personified as a goddess" and at the same time identical with the Bee.17 "The word bj.t," Kurt H. Sethe noted, "is to be read as a feminine, with the general meaning of 'the Bee,'"18 while "the male rulers of Lower Egypt in a later age of development as successors and descendants of this royal Bee were given the name of bi-ty, 'he who belongs to the Bee,' 'the descendantof the Bee.'"19 Likewise the bee symbol of Min = Horus does not tell us that Min is a bee, but that "Min is he who belongs to the Bee, who stands in relationship to the bee," which greatly puzzles Gauthier.20 In the Leiden Book of Breathings, the succession to the crown is assured when Horus marries the queen bee and takes over the land.21 "It is noteworthy," wrote Sethe, "that the masculine god Geb wears in representations of his prehistoric form the Red Crown which properly belongs to his wife."22 In an important formula, Min "unites the power of Horus with that of Seth, who reposes in Thebes and Coptos, and belongs to the Bee."


Dee said...

Women need to stop trying to be men so much, and start being real WOMEN! By that I mean mothering this earth, defending her, protecting her! So now I see exactly why Palin is NO feminist because of her disbelief in global warming and her status as non-environmentalist and non-animal rights supporter.
I have heard a bit about this. I would really love to read this book. Thanks for the post!