Bees is a Funny Word

Last night I watched a Nature of Things documentary called “Beetalker: The Secret World of Bees.” (In my defense, I didn’t know the name of the documentary before I started watching it.) Anyway, it was pretty interesting, made even more so by supplementary interjections by my girlfriend, Claire “Bees are so cool!” Salloum.

At one point in the doc, Dr. Mark Winston claimed that, “without bees, human society as we know it would not exist.” Now I’m a pretty eco-conscious guy, but even I wanted to laugh at such a silly statement. That is, until he explained that without bee pollination, the overwhelming majority of our agriculture couldn’t exist.

That would be a problem. Because, like, we humans totally love to eat.

That’s why I was a little concerned today to learn that diversity in bees and wild flowers is declining, bees are being killed by pesticides, and that bumblebees could even face extinction.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Sure Chris, I understand that we need bees to make food, and I like to eat, but protecting bees will hurt the economy, and that’s the most important thing. I want jobs, not bees!”

Good point. However, according to Simon Potts from the University of Reading, the economic value of pollination worldwide is over $100 billion Canadian each year. (And according to Doug Woodward–a Green Party member from St. Catharines who may or may not know what he’s talking about–Potts is “low by a factor of maybe 1000.”)

In conclusion, whether you’re into survival, money, or both, bees are your friend.

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6 thoughts on “Bees is a Funny Word

  1. What about the dogs with bees in their mouths?

    You know, the ones that shoot bees at you when they bark?

  2. My wife and I saw that show, too. Shouldn’t “beetalker” be two words? But I digress. We watched another show tonight (not sure the name or channel) about salmon on the West Coast, explaining in part that spawning salmon caught by bears and dragged onto the banks were responsible for fertilizing the forests with nitrogen. Essentially, the show was claiming that salmon were the “missing link” between the ocean ecosystems and those of the forests, and even inferred that the forests could not exist without the salmon. It was all very interesting, but the importance of the salmon to that particular forest struck me as a little exaggerated, maybe.

  3. Bees produce honey.
    Honey attracts bears.
    Bears eat people.

    Your pro-bear agenda is quite clear Mr. Tindal.

  4. Ross – You’re not wrong about the use of “alarming big numbers,” and clearly Woodward didn’t seem to put any science behind his claim. On the other hand, it would be hard to put a real price on our survival (which, when we’re talking about systems that support life, is what’s at stake). I wonder if that was partly his point.

    Matt Ross – You’re on to me. Whatever you do, don’t tell Colbert.

  5. Chris,

    Am sitting in an edit suite with Steve, who edited Beetalker (I was the director/producer). In a spare moment he found your blog about the show. Glad you liked it and happy that the themes lurking in the narrative got to you. We also noticed one of your respondents saw another show Steve edited (Sacred Balance). Keep the dialogue going about shows like The Nature of Things. We need it. BTW – the show got about triple the ratings of The One. Lets you know what kind of programs Canadians really want to watch. Mark Johnston

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