Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vanishing Of The Bees : Documentary Review

     Honey is essential to the specific carbohydrate diet; this is my initial reasoning on why I wanted to watch the documentary Vanishing of the Bees. As I watched, I learned just how important honey bees are to the world's food in general. Bees play an integral part of pollination, a process which without, we would simply have no food supply left, save some grains like corn and wheat. So even if you do not eat honey on a regular basis, and even if you find bees to be an annoyance, or picture them as mindless, raging stinging machines- you need to watch this movie.
     They basic synopsis is that since around the year 2006 the honey bee population in the United States has been rapidly declining. Entire farms of bees, or apiaries, were vanishing, (sometimes up to millions of bees at once) not even leaving behind the dead bees- but simply disappearing without a trace, and seemingly without a cause. This was labeled as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  The documentary features beekeepers and their initial reactions and investigations into what was causing CCD. The main culprits were of course disease and pests, but those were rather quickly ruled out. These beekeepers then travel across the globe to France, to learn from their eerily similar circumstances that had happened just a few years prior. Of course, the French governments, and other governments in general, run very differently than the US government, so when the French beekeepers discovered that their bee deaths began rapidly increasing around the same time the Bayer company introduced systemic pesticides the French government outlawed them. These systemic pesticides are being used in the US and are of course produced by Monsanto. The difference of these newer pesticides is that the seeds (take sunflowers for example) are dredged in the pesticide even before being planted. Then as the plant grows these chemicals are essentially swirling around inside every part of the plant- the stem, the leaves, and yes, the flower itself. So when the bee goes to collect pollen from the flower it also collects the chemicals. The problem in stopping these systemic pesticides is proving that they are a real threat to anything- to bees, to us who eat the crops, to the environment. See, the bee does not die right away after collecting pollen from the tainted crops, but it is that that over time the chemicals build up and weaken the structure of the bee, eventually leading to its death. There is a particularly moving scene in the film where the French filmed a bee pollinating an organic sunflower- it moves around as you would expect a bee to, in a fast pattern. Then a bee was filmed pollinating a sunflower grown with systemic pesticides- the bee looks like it is having a seizure, it is trying to clean itself off but the poor thing can barely move, it is obvious that the bee is shutting down. I literally cried after seeing that. The condition of our food system is sad to say the least.

     The film also touched on the fact that so much "honey" is now being imported from China in giant barrels. The importers claim their goods to only be worth $.18 /lb. Which is absurd. These barrels have been tested and shown to contain lactose (which comes from milk) and high fructose corn syrup. These "honey" barrels are then sold to big distributors like General Mills, Kellog's, and others. So if you are not on SCD, I hate to break it to you but your Honey Nut Cheerio's are probably 0% actual honey. Just reminds me of my post from a couple weeks ago Watch Your Honey!

     What I also noticed is that the more I watch documentaries the more I see a link in all of the problems with our way of eating in the US. It has to do with the consumer, the producer, and the regulator. The producers use pesticides that are harmful, but they are cheap, the regulator is the FDA and the EPA, both of which are run by money, greed, and imperfect men (enough said). The consumers are each one of us individually. I will never forget a quote from Food Inc. which said something to the affect of 'every time you purchase an item at the grocery store, you are voting for that item' (I know it is not exact). Basically, if you don't want to eat genetically modified foods, grown with systemic pesticides, and known to harm animals and the environment in general (it probably does the same to the human body) then do not buy those foods. The grocers and farmers meet the demands of the buyers. If you buy organic, raw, unprocessed, untreated foods, that is what will be provided. As for me, though, I am beginning to think that all food is tainted. I have the strongest urge to turn my entire backyard into a vegetable garden, plant one of every kind of fruit tree, and buy a bee colony and collect my own holistic honey. I will let you know how that goes.

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