As the catastrophic losses of honey bee colonies around the world continue, I've done another piece on this topic, pegged to the recent "Plan Bee" initiative of the UK's "the cooperative" group of companies and the film The vanishing of the bees.
Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 20, R921, 3 November 2009
The Co-operative Group of businesses in the UK has backed a film and a 10-point plan to raise awareness of the continuing losses of vital bee colonies.
abstract and restricted access to pdf file
Have also read the book "A world without bees" now (which I only knew in parts before) and am coming out of this with mixed feelings. Obviously, we do need to fix this problem, if we don't want to reduce our diet to rice and fish, but if you consider how large-scale monocultural farming and industrial bee-keeping have co-evolved in the US, following profit maximation with no regard for nature whatsoever, I can't help feeling that people in that industry get exactly what they deserve.
Biodiversity is not just for pretty postcards, it is essential to keep us alive. Replacing thousands of plant species and as many natural pollinators with just one clone of plant and one clone of pollinator has got to be a bad idea.
Oh, and maybe we should stop buying almonds, come to think of it.