- Issues of the Day
- Spheres of Activity
- Audio and Visual Gallery
- About Me
- Climate Change and Israel’s Week of Fire (Wednesday, November 30, 2016)
- Environmental Milestones in Global Warming Efforts, Carbon-Free Energy Production (Wednesday, October 19, 2016)
- Israel and Tunisia: Shared Environmental Fates (Monday, September 26, 2016)
- Civilians as Cannon Fodder: The Continuing Fiasco in Syria (Sunday, August 21, 2016)
- Murder in the West Bank Further Distances the Prospects for Peace (Sunday, July 03, 2016)
- Britexit, A Step in the Wrong Direction (Friday, June 24, 2016)
- A Week Among the Basque (Monday, May 16, 2016)
- Honored to Serve Yedid, Israel’s Association for Community Empowerment (Tuesday, March 15, 2016)
- Edvard Munch: Archetypes (Tuesday, February 02, 2016)
- Anxiety and the Weather (Thursday, December 03, 2015)
- Nordic Countries Show that Alternative Sources Can Replace Fossil-Fuels While Sustaining Strong Economies (Monday, October 19, 2015)
- We Can't Afford Despair, A Comment on Terror in Jerusalem (Tuesday, October 13, 2015)
- An Unprecedented Dust Storm, Extreme Weather and Unrest in the Mideast (Sunday, September 13, 2015)
- Inseparable Threats: Climate Change and Strife in the Middle East (Thursday, August 20, 2015)
- Giving Birth to A Private Passage (Monday, August 17, 2015)
- Anish Kapoor: Lessons from Versailles (Tuesday, July 07, 2015)
- I Remember Nepal (Tuesday, May 05, 2015)
- Of Prague, Kafka and Havel (Friday, April 03, 2015)
- Israel's 2015 Elections: A Birdseye View (Friday, March 20, 2015)
- With You, Armenia (Thursday, March 05, 2015)
- Hamas: By Its Words and Its Deeds (Wednesday, August 20, 2014)
- A Weekend During the Gaza-Israel War (Friday, August 08, 2014)
- I Thought I Killed a Bee Today (Wednesday, June 25, 2014)
- The Emerging Science of Inequality (Thursday, February 06, 2014)
- Support for Hadassah (Friday, May 09, 2014)
- Draft Three, Dance of the Uroboros, Completed (Monday, February 24, 2014)
- Understanding Frida Kahlo (Sunday, December 22, 2013)
- A Writer's Worry: On Completing Draft Two of Dance of the Uroboros (Saturday, November 30, 2013)
- Israel to Shift to a Quality-of-Life Policy Focus? (Tuesday, October 29, 2013)
- Jerusalem Spared Further Sorrow (Wednesday, October 23, 2013)
- Talking About Dance of the Uroboros (Monday, October 14, 2013)
- Weapons of Mass Destruction Are Not the Only Global Threat (Monday, October 14, 2013)
- Dialog in the Middle East Today: What if it Worked? (Wednesday, September 18, 2013)
- Why Egypt Rebelled (Friday, August 23, 2013)
- Civil Society: The New Authority (Sunday, July 28, 2013)
- Lessons from Greece (Friday, July 05, 2013)
- Big Data Blues (Friday, June 14, 2013)
- 400 ppm: Our Carbon Addiction Takes Us to a New High (Thursday, May 23, 2013)
- The Resumption of Israel's Social Protests (Sunday, May 12, 2013)
- Salutogenesis: Wellness Amid Strife (Thursday, April 25, 2013)
- From Memorial Day to Independence Day, A Passage (Tuesday, April 16, 2013)
- Countering the Violence Within: A Must for Israel (Saturday, May 04, 2013)
- Israel's New Government: A Different Future? (Monday, March 18, 2013)
- Heed the Gatekeepers: The Directors of Israel’s Secret Service Speak Out (Monday, January 21, 2013)
- Of Israelis and Palestinians and the Life of Pi (Tuesday, January 08, 2013)
- Vote Against Rejection (Wednesday, December 26, 2012)
- An Over-Crowdedness of the Senses (Thursday, December 20, 2012)
- Turritopsis dohrnii, Forever Young: A Poem Inspired by a Jellyfish (Tuesday, December 11, 2012)
- Israel and Palestine: Beyond the Proclamations (Wednesday, November 28, 2012)
- An Ideology to Die For and Changing the Future (Wednesday, November 21, 2012)
- What Matters When the Lights Go Out (Monday, November 05, 2012)
- An Earthly Neighbor in Alpha Centauri (Friday, October 19, 2012)
- Ending Our Political Servitude (Friday, October 12, 2012)
- Visiting the Past: Megiddo and Beit Sha’rim (Saturday, October 06, 2012)
- The Meaning of Yom Kippur: The Power of Our Humanity (Thursday, September 27, 2012)
- Something Like Peace (Tuesday, September 18, 2012)
- Beautiful Israel: Doers of Good Works Honored by Pres. Peres (Thursday, September 06, 2012)
- The Changing of Seasons and the Renewal of Hope (Friday, August 31, 2012)
- Bigotry Has No Place In Israel -- Or Across the Border (Wednesday, August 22, 2012)
- The Government’s Iran Stance and the Prevailing Doubt (Friday, August 17, 2012)
- Mr. Romney’s Kibbutz (Wednesday, August 08, 2012)
- Lamentations: Reflections on the Ninth of Av (Sunday, July 29, 2012)
- Desperation and Defiance: One Man’s Protest (Monday, July 16, 2012)
- Landscapes of Beauty in the Judean Desert (Monday, July 09, 2012)
- The Commitment to Social Justice is the Israeli Norm (Wednesday, June 27, 2012)
- The Iranian Bomb and Global Zero (Saturday, June 23, 2012)
- At the Jewish Book Council’s Meet the Author Event (Thursday, June 14, 2012)
- Responding to Anti-Foreigner Violence (Tuesday, June 05, 2012)
- Writers Demand End to Exploitative Practices (Friday, May 25, 2012)
- Striving for Transcendence in Two Poems (Friday, May 18, 2012)
- Israel’s Greentech and Cleantech: Marks of Distinction (Thursday, May 10, 2012)
- African Refugees in Israel: Dealing with the Challenge (Thursday, April 19, 2012)
- Adapting to a Changing Environment (Wednesday, April 11, 2012)
- IFLAC Radio Comes Peaceably into the World (Wednesday, April 04, 2012)
- Chapter Ten of Rise now available for viewing (Sunday, April 01, 2012)
- Healthcare is a Human Right - All the Way to the World Bank (Wednesday, March 28, 2012)
- Workshop on Publishing for Independent Authors (Wednesday, March 28, 2012)
- Points of Darkness, Points of Light (Tuesday, March 20, 2012)
- Ode to Michal, Death Be Not Proud (Wednesday, March 14, 2012)
- “A Separation”: Iranians are People, Too (Wednesday, March 07, 2012)
- Peacemakers Turn Their Sights on Nigeria (Monday, February 20, 2012)
- Why “Jewish Avant-Garde Artists from Romania” is of Interest (Sunday, February 05, 2012)
- Not Giving Up on Two States (Monday, January 23, 2012)
- A Poem about Vienna (Monday, January 16, 2012)
- Polluting Ourselves: Discarded Meds and Water Contamination (Sunday, January 08, 2012)
- The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace and Rise (Wednesday, December 28, 2011)
- Radio Hosts: Is the Israeli Social Protest Movement Similar to those Elsewhere? (Saturday, December 24, 2011)
- The “Price Tag” Campaign of Extremist Violence is on the March (Sunday, December 11, 2011)
- Brain Storming for Change Throughout Israel: Round Tables 2021 (Sunday, June 12, 2011)
- Taking Aim At Our Feet: Withholding Tax Revenue to the PA (Wednesday, November 16, 2011)
- Striking Against Contract Labor Abuse (Monday, July 11, 2011)
- Cemetery Desecration and Other Racist Attacks Fraying Israel's Social Fabric (Monday, July 11, 2011)
- Declining Cooperation (Friday, October 28, 2011)
- Slight Movement: Israel and Turkey (Wednesday, October 26, 2011)
- Injustices of the Week: The Final Indignities Foisted on Gilad Shalit; Qadaffi and Jungle Justice (Wednesday, October 19, 2011)
- Gilad Shalit: May he have a long life, free to just be (Tuesday, October 18, 2011)
- Extremist Attacks on Israeli Arabs is an Attack on Israel (Tuesday, May 10, 2011)
- With a New Israeli Nobel Prize Winner, Celebration and Concern (Monday, July 09, 2012)
- Developments, Both Bleak And Promising, at the Start Of The New Year (Monday, October 03, 2011)
- 100 Thousand Poets for Change, in Haifa (Sunday, September 11, 2011)
- Days Five Through Eight in Spain: Discovering a Jewish Place (Monday, September 19, 2011)
- An International Community Fights Breathlessness (Sunday, September 18, 2011)
- Israeli Specialists Convene to Discuss Land Degradation, a Global Problem (Tuesday, September 06, 2011)
- Nearly Half a Million Rally to Repudiate the Government's Program (Sunday, September 04, 2011)
- When the Government Fails to Lead, the People Must (Tuesday, August 30, 2011)
- Thursday's Terror Attacks: Suffering on All Fronts (Sunday, August 21, 2011)
- Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, What's in a Name? (Wednesday, August 17, 2011)
- Forces of Light Radiate in Israel's Periphery (Sunday, August 14, 2011)
- Rise now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and as a Kindle eBook (Sunday, August 14, 2011)
- Three Hundred Thousand Israelis Demand the Return of the State (Sunday, August 07, 2011)
- Israelis Demand Power to the People (Sunday, July 31, 2011)
- A Warning from Nauru (Sunday, July 24, 2011)
- More from Al Gore on Climate Change Denial (Wednesday, July 20, 2011)
- Yedid, Israeli Community Empowerment Organization Struggling to Survive (Sunday, July 17, 2011)
- Kudos to a Noble Adversary, the Speaker of the Knesset's Defense of Democracy (Friday, July 15, 2011)
- "Boycott" Law: Further Erosion of Israeli Democracy (Wednesday, July 13, 2011)
- The continuing bloodletting in Sudan (Tuesday, July 05, 2011)
- Yarid Shira, a testimony of love (Friday, July 01, 2011)
- Bob Dylan, Anti-Social (Monday, June 20, 2011)
- "Pulmonary Hypertension: Profile of the Disease" Conference (Thursday, June 16, 2011)
- The 21st Century Text, David Yellin College (Tuesday, June 14, 2011)
- Joseph Cedar's "Footnote," an Extraordinary Film (Saturday, June 11, 2011)
- Beautiful Souls in the Subway (Saturday, June 04, 2011)
- Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen Exhibition (Thursday, June 02, 2011)
- Encountering the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Monday, May 30, 2011)
- Anti-Israel Graffiti on a Humanitarian Website (Saturday, May 28, 2011)
- Remains of an Environmental Treasure: Everglades National Park, Florida (Sunday, June 26, 2011)
I try to be tolerant when contending with diminutive buzzing fauna. However, while having lunch in the garden this afternoon one persistent, pellet-shaped creature with busy wings proved a little too pesky. Not only was it annoying, its penetration of my personal space seemed designed to culminate in a sting.
I suffered its machinations during my meal but by the time I had completed the International New York Times my patience had become frayed and I instinctively swatted the black-stripped, yellow intruder with the newsprint. I leveled a direct strike and was rid of it.
Or so I thought – and in that I did not find comfort.
Guilt about dispatching a menacing insect?
Not exactly. My concern came from another place: I recently learned that bees around the world, particularly honey bees, are in crisis resulting in part from an affliction called Colony Collapse Disorder.
So? Why should we care about the death of bees and the collapse of colonies?
The reasons are compelling.
Why Care About Bees?
As a 2013 National Geographic report states that "bees in their crucial role as pollinators are paramount…About a third of our foods (some 100 key crops) rely on these insects, including apples, nuts, all the favorite summer fruits (like blueberries and strawberries), alfalfa (which cows eat), and guar bean (used in all kinds of products).
Bees are a "moveable force" of pollination, the mechanism by which plants become fertilized in order to reproduce. They also are a key link in the entire ecological web, as explained in this EU Euronews video. Also, as stated in the NG article, "bee health can tell us a lot about environmental health, and thus about our own well-being."
Of course, bees are also responsible for producing a significant foodstuff, honey, which has also been used medicinally throughout the centuries.
There are economic reasons, too. The Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture attributes the added crop value from bees to be about $15 billion in that country each year. But as National Geographic relates, nearly a quarter of US bee colonies perished during the 2013-14 winter season, a trend in bee demise that began in 2006. While this year's colony loss in the US declined relative to recent years, it remains higher than acceptable winter mortality, as described by the Bee Informed Partnership.
Collapse: Multiple Causes
According to a May 2014 Greenpeace report, "Plan Bee – Living Without Pesticides" the key factors contributing to bee demise include land use intensification and habitat destruction, the use of herbicides and pesticides, pathogens inimical to bees, and climate change.
Three of the most notorious pesticides belong to a class known as neonicotinoids and the European Union suspended their use in April 2013 (The Guardian) for two years due to mounting scientific evidence that they cause bee death. In recent days President Obama has instructed federal environmental and agricultural agencies to come up with a plan within six months to restore the health of bees and other pollinators (butterflies, bats) (The Christian Science Monitor). Containing the use of these pesticides is surely among the measures to be weighed.
Any way one looks at things, the ongoing news on bees is not very good at all. Not all bee death is due to Colony Collapse Disorder, which in any case is a cyclical disease that ebbs and rises. But there is considerable evidence that forces other than natural ones are endangering this vital connector of the ecosystem.
In a well-documented background report for Friends of the Earth (FoE) entitled "Follow the Honey: Seven Ways Pesticides Companies are Spinning the Bee Crisis to Protect Profits" attorney and public health specialist Michele Simon describes a well-moneyed, multipronged public relations blitz by multinational pesticide producers to obfuscate the crisis. She compares the tactics being deployed to those used by the tobacco companies in protecting their economic interests.
All is Not Well
All, then, is not well in bee-dom, and the gravity of this situation has implications far and wide: environmentally, nutritionally and economically.
Personally, my disquiet concerning the prospect of having killed a bee this afternoon was soon lightened when the critter revived and renewed its buzzing and dizzying flight. Poetically inspired in an Emily Dickenson sort of way, a verse came to mind:
"To see a fallen bee in flight, dispels fright."
To which I might have added:
"A colony of bees deceased, bodes of a witches' brew released."