Friday, 13 August 2010

Just Bee

We are all part of one great whole, visibly or invisibly depending on each other.

Together we can make an active contribution to the great whole.

Without bees life would not taste so sweet.

There was a play on Radio 4 recently called ‘Hive Mind’. It was set in the near future in a world lacking Bees where farmers were paying immigrant workers to pollinate essential crops by hand (as featured in our Health Special in the May/June issue of the magazine), until the evil scientists came along with their ‘HoneyBots’. This was the first time I have experienced this kind of (positive?) propaganda on the radio and I am not sure how it has left me feeling about the use of this medium. In the play, the Honeybots turned bad and ended up killing the children fuelling a full-scale riot which led to their self-destruction and a return to simple hand-pollination.
We are all fully aware of the demise of the Honeybee and are constantly fed alarming statistics about the dramatic extinction rates-which, ironically, has led to a collective de-sensitization to the loss of species and habitats. Popular films such as 2012, The Age of Stupid and Avatar target (at varying levels) the fact that we know we cannot keep taking more from our Earth than we put back. But will the use of media to convey these powerful ecological messages do more harm than good?
By making the challenges and possible outcomes into entertainment do we risk downgrading the problems? Will we be open to criticism and attack from bar-stool Britain? “You’re only saying that ‘cause it was in that T.V Show”/ “That’s not really gonna happen, that was a film/play etc”.
Bees use the medium of dance to communicate the location of nectar to one another. Plants make use of colour, scent and deceptive shapes to get other organisms to carry out essential reproductive activities. Humans employ stories, fables and myths to warn of making the wrong choices, so maybe we will see the afternoon play being used more often from now on as a warning of our wrong doings.

Jon Every is a Botanist, studying Botanical Conservation at Plymouth University.

1 comment:

  1. "The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
    But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,
    Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread"

    Excerpt from Lycidas by John Milton

    environmental ambivalence fuels our obsession for prophetic images of a looming dystopian future