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What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Via Postal Mail - You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to: WikiLeaks (or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country), BOX 4080, Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch, Victoria 3052, Australia

Sunday, October 21, 2007

 

Poblem-B

Speaking before the U.S. House of Representatives April 2007, the head of the Illinois Department of Entomology had this to say:

"It is an unfortunate consequence of benign indifference to the precarious nature of an overwhelming reliance on a single species that few alternative actively managed species are currently available for use. And despite evidence of their efficacy as crop pollinators, wild species are not being exploited to any significant extent. While efforts to monitor honey bees are inadequate, efforts to monitor the status of wild pollinators in North America are essentially non existent…. There is reliable evidence that some North American pollinator species have gone extinct, become locally extirpated, or have declined in number. At least two bumble bee species, one of which is a crop pollinator, could face imminent extinction, and several other pollinators have declined significantly."

As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

… Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.

The researchers examined the effects of pollen from a genetically modified maize variant called “Bt corn” on bees. A gene from a soil bacterium had been inserted into the corn that enabled the plant to produce an agent that is toxic to insect pests. The study concluded that there was no evidence of a “toxic effect of Bt corn on healthy honeybee populations.” But when, by sheer chance, the bees used in the experiments were infested with a parasite, something eerie happened. According to the Jena study, a “significantly stronger decline in the number of bees” occurred among the insects that had been fed a highly concentrated Bt poison feed.

Is it not possible that while there is no lethal effect directly to the new bees, there might be some sublethal effect, such as immune suppression, acting as a slow killer?

Given that nearly every bite of food that we eat has a pollinator, the seriousness of this emerging problem could dwarf all previous food disruptions. - San Francisco Chronicle

Personally, I believe situations like this are an opportune moment for reflection - a time to humbly consider a few realities, and perhaps learn a few lessons. Of significance to me is the fact that scientists haven’t got this figured out as yet. It begs the question - which is easier, when dealing with the infinitely complex interactions of nature: 1) predicting specific consequences to our ‘tinkering’ before they occur, or 2) understanding how something happened after-the-fact? I would have thought the latter was the easiest - you know the old saying, “hindsight is a wonderful thing”. Looking back at the results, following the trail of clues, is a lot less challenging than postulating over what could happen. Or, to put it into a framework that might be better understood - if Sherlock Holmes, expert in crime scene deductions, were to turn his attention to predicting crimes rather than solving them, how would he have fared?



Researchers are desperately seeking the ’cause’ of colony collapse disorder. The reductionist mindset would be tempted to pull a single root cause out from amongst those above, but, I would propose that the items listed above, in combination, constitute a great load on the camel’s back - with one or two of the above being the final straw that broke it.

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