With all this talk of rising sea levels and a changing climate one very fundamental part of our ecosystem is near collapse, and it has hardly had any publicity at all ! Native British bees are dying out and when they go so will flora, fauna and one-third of our diet. Albert Einstein had a theory about the relationship between man and bee. “If the bee disappears off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left” !
The reason the bee is so important is that without pollination there are no crops and there would also be no plants, no trees, no insects, no birds and no fruit. In short, the bee is vital to our very existance. Already bees are in such short supply that farmers are having to import bees from abroad but there is a risk in doing this in that it is easy to also import diseases and other pests that could destroy the fragile system. In 2007 the then food and farming minister said that the honeybee in the UK could be extinct within 10 years.
It is not just a UK problem. In the United States, wild bee numbers have slumped dramatically since the mid 1990’s. Bees you see are at the sharp end of the ecological system and once they go everything falls down behind like a pack of cards. Bees, insects, trees, fruit, birds, animals and then humans. Pesticides are one of the reasons why bees are being eradicated and already crop yields are beginning to suffer.
In Sichuan province in China, the most important crop is pears, which depend on pollination by bees. But there are no bees and the workers have to manually pollinate the trees by hand. This is not so bad where you have plenty of cheap labour but in Europe that is not the case.
Bees and insects play a vital part in life on Earth and if they are no longer around then the world will have diminished resources and with a higher population this is likely to lead to wars being fought over those remaining scarce resources.