(From my weekly column at Greed: “No Quarter”)
Whenever I watch the typical dystopia movie I often wonder what the first warning signs were. Usually large-scale, earth shattering, oh-sweet-Jesus-now-we’re-screwed stuff has small and almost innocent beginnings. Nobody thought Katrina was going to be a big deal for instance until the very last minute; most school shooters may have been a little off but nobody would of imagined they’d stroll in one day and blow someone’s head four feet across the room. Signs, omens, almost every action carries within it hints towards a much larger potential event.
So when I woke up to find bees on the endangered species list for the first time in US history I practically shit myself.
“Seven types of bees once found in abundance in Hawaii but now facing extinction on Friday became the first bees to be added to the federal list of endangered and threatened species, according to U.S. wildlife managers.”
Considering about 70 percent of the world’s foods grown today require pollination to develop fruits, nuts, and seeds this is very, very bad news. How bad? Well it all depends on how you feel about food. If you think this isn’t a big deal allow me to introduce you to a passage from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a book where humanity is forced to confront a world without food:
“They walked into the little clearing, the boy clutching his hand. They’d taken everything with them except whatever black thing was skewered over the coals. He was standing there checking the perimeter when the boy turned and buried his face against him. He looked quickly to see what had happened. What is it? he said. What is it? The boy shook his head. Oh Papa, he said. He turned and looked again. What the boy had seen was a charred human infant headless and gutted and blackening on the spit. He bent and picked the boy up and started for the road with him, holding him close. I’m sorry, he whispered. I’m sorry.”
Some of the articles cruising the internet seem to caution for calm, reminding us that these are only Hawaiian bees, that while sad these are some pretty specialized creatures. Tiny habitats, tiny climate conditions, it’s almost not surprising. It’s not like we’re losing a species with access to the entire North American continent, right?
“…the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed adding the imperiled rusty patched bumble bee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once found in the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States, to the endangered and threatened species list.”
Of course this is just the released media, this is what they WANT you to know. The fact that techheads are casually talking about building RoboBees hinst at a much darker, much more sinister future: a world with no pollination where nations and peoples must PAY for the once natural act for food to be fertilized.
“The bad news: Earth‘s climate change problem just passed a point of no return. Atmospheric carbon levels have passed 400 parts per million, and they won’t return to more environment-friendly levels ‘ever again for the indefinite future…’
A lot of problems come with climate change. Because of it, one-fourth of the Earth’s species could be extinct by 2050. It also screws up food webs, as polar bears are finding out the hard way. Millions and millions of people will have to relocate due to rising sea levels, with scientists estimating that over 13 million Americans might have to move by 2100.”
Is it any wonder Elon Musk and his billionaire backers want to abandon this planet?
Our world is only getting hotter and we are beginning to lose a creature we literally depend upon for food production. This is surely concern for nations around the globe yet the sheer fact they’re downplaying it signals that not everybody is going to be on the lifeboats once this thing sinks. There is no going back now, no hope to preserve the world you and I remember as children. In the ultimate act of matricide we have destroyed the very planet that birthed us and the humble creatures that nourished us from dark caves to the heights of sun-soaked space.
These two reports alone mark an incredible and tragic turning point for humanity, and if it were a movie we’d watch the pilots miss the quiet warning buzzer that the goddamn plane is set to crash into the mountain. Unless the bulk of humanity seizes the wealth and power from the tiny minority all too content to blast off and leave us here to die each passing bee species is a nail in our collective coffin, a quiet and horrifying symbol that cannibalism and murder might escape the realm of novelist’s fantasies and become a fact of biological necessity.
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