To bee or not to bee? That is the question.
Could you live without honey?
Or without coffee?
As far as important species go, bees lead the top of the list. The only way a plant will bear fruit is if it has been pollinated. As critical pollinators, they pollinate 70% of the crops species that feed 90% of the world. In short, other than cereals (or animals), it’s a list of everything you eat.
Humans reap $30 billion worth yearly of economic benefits from the crops that bees pollinate. The value of pollination by bees in the U.S. alone is estimated at $16 billion yearly.
As A. Einstein said that without bees: ‘Man would have only four years of life left’.
Although, honeybee colonies are dying at frightening rates. Since 2007, an average of 30% of all colonies have died every winter in the United States.
What would happen if there would be a beepocalypse? Within just three months of our last bee dying, producers would be facing record low harvest yields. In cities, grocers would be scrambling to explain to consumers why almond butter costs had tripled. Within six months, many farmers—especially small-scale operations—would likely face tough choices about converting their fields to wheat. By the end of the first year, “we’d have a very bland and boring diet”.
I guess you see where this is going…
Bees are the lifeblood of the food chain.It means that a world without bees could struggle to sustain the global human population of 7 billion. Our supermarkets would have half the amount of fruit and vegetables and the prices would be insanely high.
The shirt you’re wearing?
The United States is the biggest cotton exporter in the world. The industry rakes in $25 billion a year, and employs 200,000 people – not including bees, which pollinate the cotton.
Freshwater would start to disappear, since trees are needed for water retention, and, well, there’d be a lot less trees.
Large-scale desertification would take place. Huge landslides could wipe out entire villages, and severe drought would starve the survivors.
While it wouldn’t be the end of humanity, Dykes likes to point out that it might be wise to think a bit about the chain of events that would get us to this point—and if there’s some way to avoid it. “If we lose all of our bees, that’s the least of our worries,” he says. As in, at that point we’d be living in a world so soiled and toxic that we’d have much bigger problems than paying $16 dollars an apple.
Is there something we can do? The good news is that each of our individual actions can lead to positive and large-scale change.
We must diversify our farms and urban landscapes by planting flowers along crop borders, inland unprofitable for crop production, along roadsides, power line corridors and in city lawns.
Why not start planting?
Go for native flowering plants from your region. Plant clover, alfalfa or other flowering cover crops that replenish soil nutrients and prevent erosion. And then sit on a chair, get some sun rays and watch the bees pollinate your garden and farm, rewarding you and the world with healthy food and beautiful flowers.