A brief update on the ‘Vanishing of the Bees’

The documentary was released in 2009 but the issue is on-going. UK and US bee populations have declined by 50% in the last 25 years. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating at least 80% of the world’s crops. Without their industrious services, pollinating up to 18,000 plants in a day, food prices would soar dramatically. Therefore farmers are reliant on bees, yet the pesticides they use are considered one of the main causes of the widespread phenomena, Colony Collapse Disorder, that has hit the States most significantly from 2006.
Independent academic research in the UK and France has found that ‘neonicotinoids’ in pesticides, are harmful to bees nervous systems effecting their memory and mobility. Results from the research showed that a third of the colony exposed to neonicotinoids were unable to find their way back to the hive, as well as an 85% decline in the survival of the Queen Bee each year.
This research has not been validated by the current UK government who are propping up insecticide manufacturers Syngenta and Bayer CropScience findings, which conclude that ‘neonicotinoids do not pose an unacceptable risk to honeybees’. None of this research has been publicly disclosed for review.
Last year the EU enforced a two year suspension on the use of neonicotinoids, although the UK were against the ban. This decision will be up for review again at the beginning of 2015.
Protecting pollinators and our food from these damaging chemicals is far from accomplished.

WHAT WE CAN DO IN THE MEANTIME:
In the meantime grow more bee-friendly plants to increase bee habitats.
Buy fruit and vegetables from The Co-operative and Waitrose who are both committed to sourcing their fresh produce from suppliers who do not use harmful pesticides.
Or start learning how to become a beekeeper through a local mentoring programme or by doing a course.

One of the most striking things I took away from the documentary were the numerous (some perhaps a bit far-fetched) parallels between problems afflicting bees and our own human plight.
– Commercial bees are fed on sugar syrup rather than being allowed to feed on their own honey, much like our reliance on manufactured sugars rather than natural sugars we have grown ourselves.
– We both suffer from the sprays we put on crops, which have transmitted various diseases into the food chain.
– The female role of queen bee is undermined as commercial bee keepers replace them with new younger, more efficient queens each year. A reflection of how women are commonly upgraded today, and how female qualities are often undermined in the workplace. ( the disempowerment of the sacred feminine at large in society)
– Bees are now farmed and exported miles overseas to pollinate crops far from their natural habitats, which disorientates them and makes them less effective. Similarly the human mass-migration we are witnessing in the last century, of displaced communities and enclaves of people uprooted from their indigenous landscape, has effected peoples coping mechanisms and livelihoods, estranged and far from their home culture.

Simply observing the bees appears to be the key to understanding what is wrong and what can be done. One academic even said that from observation it is clear the bees have all the answers and reflect that the problem is far more multi-faceted and complex than first appears. It is not simply about eliminating the use of neonicotinoids but changing the whole complex system by which we are currently sustaining life on planet earth.

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Mood Foods

It seemed very apt that, prior to an evening hosted by one of Bristol’s ‘know it alls’ when it comes to what not to eat and what to eat, I was up-ended in the loo having a violent reaction to a mixture of what I had consumed that afternoon.

Wild Oat’s Michael Abrahams hosted an evening called Mood Foods which incorporated a talk from nutritionist Jamie Richards who in short advocated reducing meal frequency and increasing movement (exercise). Nothing new, in our society in particular, where being overweight is widely known to be a major clinical issue and precursor for disease. However his argument against the ‘little and often’ line was that the most abundant amino acid in the body, glutathione, breaks down to form gaba which in actuality serves to sedate the body. Whereas if we effectively starve the body until it feels hunger, glutamine breaks down into glutamate which speeds up bodily functions making you more pro-active and clear-headed. Hence why he advises businessmen to serve a huge lunch before sealing a deal, or to minimise consumption prior to presenting.

A second reason for not eating regularly is that each time you eat the pancreas effectively breaks down to cope with the food intake and needs up to 5/6 hours before it is ready to aid digestion again. Ultimately he reasoned that to avoid the food coma’s and the need for coffee to catapult us into the morning, we should be eating nutrient dense food (quality) rather than energy dense food (quantity). Along with the right supplements in our diet and enough exercise we should be able to get a lot more done in our day, on far less.

Other useful tips shared were –
Turmeric, fresh if possible, should be a daily supplement as it contains curcumin which benefits the immune system, liver function, bone strength and skin!
Water should be taken like food, all in one go and at prolonged intervals. You waste energy consuming water if sipping on it throughout the day.
Expressive free writing in the morning aids a more balanced mood throughout the day.

Some of these ideas seem contrary to popular assumption so I thought it was interesting to share – at least some more food for thought.

One more thing – our brain size is shrinking. In the last 10,000 years our brain size has decreased by 10%, and more noticeably since Nixon introduced high fructose corn syrup in 1976