Thursday, April 28, 2016

Robo-bees and the Wrong End of the Problem

So there I was in my kitchen having a perfectly wonderful conversation with a dear friend when she tells me that over April vacation she and her son were in Boston and saw an exhibit about robo-bees (but don't click on that rabbit hole now, okay?).

It was like she hit me over the head with the reality bat. You probably all know about them?

Well, they were all new to me but they shook something clear in me.

The robo-bees are yet another example of our human propensity to invent something new and yes, totally COOL, to attempt to solve a problem that we created. These bees might someday pollinate our food crops. On one level that is cool, but deeply, deeply disturbing on another.

We so often apply our intelligence to the wrong end of the problem. Bee die off. Cancer. Pollution. Global Warming. You name it. We innovate like hell to build something NEW. To discover something NEW.

We could focus (our minds and dollars) on the other end of the problem, its beginning, its cause, its root.
Why don't we do this more?
Instead we choose to see, and fund, the benefits to introducing the new gene, the new nano-bee, the new chemo drug.

Is it because the problems are too big? Seem too big? Too many 'factors'? Too many complications?
"Too much" interconnection (which is the very definition of the ecological worldview)?

Is it because we want the new, not the old? We want to shop, not sort through the trash. 

Is it because we are hog-tied by our dependence on pharmo-chemical companies?

I say, let's INNOVATE on our noticing.
Let's INNOVATE on the connections.
Let's INNOVATE on the cleanup.
Let's INNOVATE on the prevention.
Let's get to 'enough is enough'. 

Of course, of course, so much is happening on all of these fronts. We need innovation, invention. I am not all 18th Century Woman here. There are so many good people and organizations of good people working toward the root cause and new solutions to the problems we face. And I am grateful to those people.

But wait.
 (Time-elapsed photo of bees. I am sorry I don't know the photographer. It is from the internet.) 
I am also so grateful for the bees. The real bees. The whole marvelous mystery of them. All of the everything we don't even know about them! The ten thousand connections that they have in our glorious world that we don't understand. It is this web that is also in peril as pollinators die off.

No robo-bee can step into the web of life. They can perform a function. Maybe.

But bees...they are the real deal. The genuine articles. The originals.

We cannot afford to lose them. We should not dare lose them.
'Lose' is actually quite the wrong word. A candy-coated euphemism that is easier to swallow and say. 'Lose' connotes forgetfulness and somehow that they might be 'found.' There is only a twinge of death in the word 'lose'.

What we are doing is not losing bees but killing bees. And when we kill a life form that has evolved in situ, within the web of life here on Earth, we exterminate far more than one single life form but we make impossible, we kill now, a whole line of potential life processes in the future. 

So I will bring this back to the here and now. It is Spring and you might be fixin' to garden. Don't buy that Walmart seedling that has been doused a few times with various insecticides. Just don't. That OrthoWhatever product on the hardware store shelves that promises to rid your beloved plants of whatever insect-shaped ill it's got...don't buy it.

Let us all garden with the bees and for the bees.
May we all grow a bit each day.
With love, Polly and co.