The Emerging World Summary

In some way or another all of the posts talked about how the CCD allowed for human ingenuity to create a new alternative to our previous food world.

 

New business opportunities and start up companies would emerge that would be directly tied to the food industry that emerges in the post-CCD alternative reality. Bloggers talked about how food options would be fewer and more expensive. As a result of this, the majority of the people in this new society would return to growing their own crops and be more agriculture. This would allow for a healthier relationship with the foods we eat and create a deeper respect for the land and agricultural processes.

 

On the scientific side, current processes can create genetically modified foods. These advancements could be taken a step further and create entire diets suited to our food needs. Though some people shutter at the idea of lab-produced food, in the post-CCD world working with scientists to create food variety could be common.

 

In sum, the human work ethic has carried our species a long way. All the blog posts, in some form or another, expressed confidence in the human spirit and its ability to come up with creative solutions in the face of adversity. Though the world will be different following the CCD, we will survive without the honeybees.

An email thread

 

An email thread between a company focused on developing new food products and Hamilton’s community farm. The company focuses on using genetic manipulation and human creativity to produce edible items that maximize efficiency within the food systems. Insuring that all needed macro and micronutrients can be found in one food product that not only includes all these nutritional benefits, but does not require pollination and still tastes good.

 

Dear Quality Corn,

Thank you for your attention to our small project here on Hamilton’s campus. After much thought and deliberation we have decided to not plant your product as it does not coincide with the values on which our farm was founded many years ago. We strongly appreciate the variation in species, shape, color, and size of our vegetables and standardizing our procedures to “maximize efficiency” we find troubling. Yes we will have to put more effort into our production, but for now that is what we chose to do. We will be planting corn because that will help reduce our labor need, but we chose to plant a variety of corn that has not been manipulated on a genetic level. We acknowledge your point that the production of your product has economic benefits; however, so would devoting time towards other means of food production.

Sincerely,

The Farm

 

 

To Hamilton College Community Farm Volunteers:

Due to the disappearance of bees as a result of colony collapse disorder, we have a new opportunity to utilize our current knowledge in the development of new agricultural systems through genetic modifications of the crops that are able to grow. We can use the genetic codes from self pollinating plants and through cross breeding and genetic manipulation, we can create new food items that are perfectly suited to our needs. We can stretch our creativity in the realm of scientific thinking and move towards an ideal food source that maximizes efficiency at all parts of the farm to fork process.

We know how pollination with bees worked. We understand the process by which bee pollination was beneficial. But we can also look at their disappearance for us to make improvements to our food systems. We already know how to add, remove, and manipulate a plant’s genome. We can do therefore continue to do research and incorporate these techniques into an ideal food source that does not require bee pollination to survive or for mass production and that will provide the nutrients necessary to our survival and wellbeing. We have combined the best attributes of a number of species into one plant that can have a fully functional life cycle even in a world devoid of such efficient pollinators

And this is what we have done. We have sent you a tray of corn seedlings that have been enhanced with new nutrients and that do not require bee pollination, nor hand pollination, thanks to the ingenuity and efforts of our employees. We encourage you to use this sample in your efforts at the farm, part of which is to provide your dining hall with high quality nutritious food. Remember to, that the efforts put towards creating this ideal food product have created a tremendous amount of work for the country’s citizenry and so by planting this product you are validating their efforts and supporting a worthy cause: to adapt to our new environment and continuing to produce the best products for humanity. Every switch to our products on a local scale helps contribute to this movement and will prove to be greatly beneficial in the long run.

Most sincerely,

Company -----

Dear Mom and Dad

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know you never understood my profession as an apiarist, but I believe you will soon realize the importance of my work. Although you never came out and said it, I know you always thought it as silly, pointless work, and that I should do something more meaningful with my life. With that said, you may finally get your wish because I am now out of a job.

All of the beekeepers that I worked with are also now unemployed and this is because of something known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is when all the worker bees in a hive suddenly disappear, and these are the bees that are responsible for pollination. You might not realize this, but this is a huge agricultural problem because bees are responsible for pollinating a huge number of the crops we produce and without them our crops with struggle and less food will be produced.

In the long run however, I believe this may in fact help humanity. We have greatly strayed from the natural and simple life of people that lived long before us. These people grew their own food in their gardens and had enough for the day, instead of genetically programming food to last for months longer than it naturally should. Without the bees, we won’t have as much food as we used to and this might lead us to live a simpler and healthier life.

There are going to be a lot of people that disagree with this new way of living. For example, social classes will be harder to distinguish between because you won’t need money in order to buy food, you now have to grow your own. Therefore, the people that used to be on top will not be happy as society grows more equal, and they will fight against this change, and instead they will argue for technology, the thing that got us into this mess, to fix the problem for us.

I know that this change would be extremely difficult considering the culture we live in today, and many people would strongly disagree with me. But I do believe that regressing to a simpler life would not only help people but also help out planet, and it could help reverse CCD and bring the worker bees back!

I know you have disagreed with many decisions I have made but I hope we can come together and agree on this. Very soon we will start to see the affects of CCD and this could be devastating to our society. So lets start a positive movement and encourage more people to grow their own food and move away from our current methods of mass production farming.

Xoxo,

Sara

Plan BEE

When I was growing up, I often thought about what it would be like to live in the time period that my parents lived in. How could anyone want to live in the technologically “deficient” period that they lived in? Then I began to think about things that they had access to as teens that I didn’t have as a teenager. The first thing that came to mind was the drinking age. Now bear with me, my thought process was as a teenager the drinking age was always a major topic of discussion and that everyone wanted it to be changed and so on. Our parents didn’t have to deal with that and it seems as if the world was much more laid back when they were growing up. Another example would be the stories my parents told me of how they rode bikes to the lakes that were hours away on bikes. No parent would have allowed that with the conditions we faced as children. In either case, our parents had opportunities that were no longer present to me as a kid which forced human nature into a process of adaption.

From time to time, I think about how my kids won’t have the opportunity to experience things that were available to me. As I walked down the street the other day to my car, I noticed a little girl eating a cup of fruit while her parents shopped. Did the little girl know how her food was produced? Most likely not.  It’s funny to think that when I have kids someday the word “bee” will probably lost to everyone. This world seems to be about constant adaption to changing circumstances and the Colony Collapse Disorder has caused just that. As a journalist I felt obligated to talk to the girl and her parents. I asked the girl if a bee had made her fruit possible to eat. She appeared old enough to know what a bee might have been and she responded by saying “she didn’t know what a bee was.” There you have it, the bee had already begun to work itself out of the English language.

In order to enjoy the same foods we once had, humans have had to adapt to the extinct bee population. New forms of pollinating foods have been made possible and have allowed us to continue to pollinate crops and flowers translating to food on the table. I am often required to ask why and how when I evaluate a story for my job. So how did these new adaptions take place? I connect it back to an old high school relationship that almost everyone experienced. You find yourself madly in love and the next day you’re getting dumped wondering how you’re going to survive only to find yourself falling for a new girl the next day. Bringing that back to bees, people learn to adapt when they find something new that makes them just as happy as before. As for us, we were able to adapt to this CCD because humans have been able to find new ways to get us the same foods making us just as happy. It’s almost as if we never lost a beat and that’s why humans have begun to forget about bees altogether.

So why do we have to learn to adapt? While I asked the parents of the girl what they thought about the loss of bees and they basically shrugged it off. We have to learn to adapt because without it, we would never be able to move on. We’d still be stuck wondering what if and not wondering how to move forward. We are forced to adapt so that we don’t still worry about the past that we can’t control but rather we worry about the future which we can. The adaptions to new pollination have provided us with a similar way of living but have almost benefitted us in some ways. Largely our pollination process has become more diversified and has forced humans to expand pollination to several sources rather than having it remain the product of one single organism. This way if something else fails, we won’t be as crippled as we were when bees first declined. It’s also caused resistance through the hard labor and more independent growing that individuals have had to do. Families have begun to grow more crops themselves to avoid the high prices in stores.  Not everyone is as fond of this as you would think since people are constantly busy today and would rather not have to worry about growing their own crops. Adaption to the bee collapse has provided a range of positive and negatives but the adaption was necessary in order to forget about the bees and understand that there are new possibilities even without their use.

Who Needs Pollination?

Adaptation is key. Humans have been doing it since the beginning of time. Without honey bees, there will be room for change. New businesses will start up and other healthy food options will become available. Yes, many pollinated foods we used to enjoy will be gone, but there is room to adapt and try new things. 

 

Profits will be made and the whole food industry will change. It will not be easy at first, but there will be a reorganization of agriculture and an emphasis on creating something new. The entire agriculture system will change, but there will be a push towards making different foods. There will be innovations and a push for new futuristic foods. This will be a mentally-stimulating movement. If it's possible for people to join together and get creative, good things will happen. 

 

Individuals will recognize privledge. They will unfold the moral mode without even being aware of it. People will understand the usefulness of honey bees. They will begin to see how lucky we were for even having an opportunity to enjoy the pollination good. Even with the bad, humans will emerge and make positive changes. Do not be mistaken, there will be resistance to the new innovations, businesses, foods, ect. I think the world will adapt and change more than it will fall apart. People will eat what they can and romanticize the past and what we once had. But they will live with what they can. And the best way to deal with a bad situation (a world without honey bees) is to profit from it and poke a little fun at it.

 

The attached photo is an ad for a new brand of bran muffins. Honey bees are not available, but there are other options such as Teffy's (delicious) Bran Muffins. Pollination isn't necessary for all foods. People can learn to enjoy certain foods and adapt to that world.

Children: the new bees!

 

          As a parent, I lived in the world with bees, and am highly aware of the effects their disappearance has had. My children, however, were born into a bee-less world. They don’t get to enjoy many of the culinary joys of my childhood, but CCDs impact on them is not all bad. When I was young, if you had asked me where berries came from, my answer would have been something along the lines of “the fruit aisle?”

          Awareness has benefitted our youth in more ways than I can say. Last weekend we went to a farm. We spent the day in the fields with families from all over our community. This is because the farm is in our community. We maintain the rows of fruits and vegetables, and we get to enjoy the juicy bounty at every harvest. Community farms took off when hand pollination proved too taxing for the mega farms to handle. Now communities everywhere take part in growing and pollinating the foods we most desire. Ask my son where berries come from and he’ll show you the dirt under his fingernails, a smile on his face.

           Ten years ago 2% of our population engaged in farming. Earlier today I saw half of my neighborhood weeding, hoeing, and planting seeds. This understanding, this closeness and appreciation for the natural world is how I know that our planet is in much better hands now than it was before the bees left. 

Champlain Valley Compost Co. Meg Berlin

 

Bee No More

When shopping in the market the other day with my normal grocery list, I walked down the aisle and saw foods, that for a period of time, I hadn’t seen in months. Fruits, certain vegetables, berries, and squashes to name a few were all stacked on their various shelves at Wegmans. It was such a relief seeing these foods were still available. Sometimes I fear walking in to the store and seeing that the market no longer carries them.

For some of the younger generations reading this, you might be asking why is it a big deal to see fruits and berries on the shelves? To answer that, there used to be a time when I would think to myself, “Are we ever going to see fruits and vegetables again?” The reason being, that bees used to be major pollinators of foods but when the Colony Collapse Disorder took effect, these food groups were no longer available when the bee population declined. With the recent strategies that have developed however, I sometimes forget that bees even existed. I imagine that one day, some smart man got fed up with not having his berries anymore and finally decided to develop a way to pollinate and bring back our foods. Since then we have largely had our food supplies returned to us thanks to two main strategies:

 

 

Yes, two completely different tasks that we use, yet two ways that we are now able to enjoy the foods we once had to live without. One natural process and one artificial process I’d say. To start with the more humanly influenced (artificial) process of hand pollination. The Chinese were largely responsible for using this process years ago to maintain the pollination of crops. Since then, we have begun to learn how to use the process for our own benefits in this country. Humans are responsible for shaking the buds and flowers daily to ensure that pollen is moved across plants in addition to that of wind pollination.

We have also developed the natural process of using butterflies. Like bees, butterflies are responsible for carrying the pollen on their bodies to other plants and thus pollinate the crops and flowers. Scientists have begun to establish ways of controlling the butterflies into more colony like groups and transporting them to areas for pollination.

After all that time without our core foods, it is no surprise that we have developed replacement methods. It was almost a necessity to find some way to pollinate crops so that we would be able to enjoy the natural foods we once loved. It wasn’t the same natural world without natural foods.

That being said there is no denying that with the reappearance of fruits and berries, it comes with a price. Pun intended, since the price for these foods is almost double now than it used to be. Hand pollination and butterfly use are valid methods that have gotten the job done and have put foods back on the shelves, but they do present problems compared to bee pollination. Currently, our efficiency with pollination is nowhere near what it was with bees, which has caused problems in the supply industry. The limited supply is due to a lack of efficiency in that we cannot get butterflies to pollinate in masses like bees and hand pollination is long and daunting process which requires time and labor. These inefficiencies have caused prices to spike greatly. Humans understand that there is a price to be paid however and are willing to accommodate just so that we can even have the option of buying these foods again. Overall, my daily routine in the market hasn’t changed much, thanks to still natural processes like butterfly pollination I am still able to buy fruits just with a little extra cost.    

Society on replacing the honeybee

 

            One of the most inconvenient problems we face is colony collapse disorder. From farmers, to scientists, to families at home, the loss of food diversity resulting from the disappearance of honeybees is troubling. As such, society is searching for possible solutions.

            Various solutions have been proposed. Some feel that honeybees cannot be replaced, but one local pilot has had some success with a new system of plane-mounted pollen dusters. This pilot, and others like him, take off in specially modified airplanes, which have canisters attached to their wings. Farmers commission these pilots to fly over their fields, releasing laboratory-synthesized pollen in clouds over the crops. The method had yielded some success in fertilizing our food. Consequences of this attempt to replace bees include noise pollution from the planes, inefficient distribution of pollen substitute, and mess from wind-blown pollen in surrounding locations.

            A journalist, however, feels that efforts, such as the pollen dusting technology, are futile. The journalist explains that replacement technologies are just another corporate scam designed to take money from an unwitting society. Attempts to replace, in the journalist’s opinion, create a perpetual system of fraudulent consumerism that will not lead to a positive outcome for society.

            Local unnamed farmer has not shared in the success described by crop-dusting pilots. Down on the farm, she explains, replacement technologies are not effective. She has been engaging in hand-pollination techniques, but finds them laborious and inefficient. She will soon be testing a new technology: a sort of adapted sprinkler system that travels over flowers, spraying pollen. The farmer has considerable doubts about the new technology. CCD has opened her eyes to the delicate precision of a honeybee’s work. On an uplifting note, she has employed children to aid in the hand-pollination process. With enthusiasm, the kids learn about natural systems, fostering understanding and appreciation in our youth.

            Experts echo our farmer friend’s dubious outlook on replacement technologies. One expert opinion says that no technology can replace the honeybee. If we dedicate our resources to such a fruitless pursuit, he claims, we will harm society as a whole, and possibly generate famine. No large-scale solution can be reached through replacement technology because human efforts cannot match the efficiency and tenderness of the honeybee.  

Above the Adversity

I miss the bees because of what they were able to do, and, as a pilot, I have an even deeper appreciation for what they did. In conjunction with the USDA, I’m part of a large group of pilots knows as the Pollinators. Don’t let the name fool you, our task is anything but flowers: we fly planes that look and function similar to crop dusters, except the wing-mounted canisters are filled with pollen not pesticides. The reproduction of the pollen itself was easy thanks to modern science; delivering it to the plant was slightly more challenging. If you put enough people in a room who have been starved of any variety in their food, chances are they’ll come up with a plan!

 

Not surprisingly, this operation faces opposition from people, especially those who live by the fields and deal with the habitual hum of our planes. I understand their concerns and frustrations, but I like my old, pollen-cycle produced food A LOT more than this new stuff they came up with.

 

Flying from the airport to these fields gives me a neat perspective on how much the bees did for us. Even at altitude, these fields stretch for miles and you really get a sense for how connected industries are to pollen related plants. When these fields were “natural”, bees ever so casually fly from plant to plant and do the job for us. Now, it’s clearly a little more industrialized like so many of our other systems.

 

This experience has been very eye-opening for me and provided me with a nice perspective on the awesomeness of nature. I realize that change has to start at the individual level, so I’ve decided to plant a garden in my small backyard. I don’t have a lot of space and I don’t grow large quantities of things – peppers, tomatoes and a few herbs – but I think this is a good start for getting me closer to my food. Whether it’s farm to fork, or plane to fork, the CCD is giving me a new perspective on food and I think it’s for the better.

 

Kevin Prior

Technologies Set An Unavoidable Trap

 

Technologies Set An Unavoidable Trap

By Sara Berthiaume

 

All sorts of different companies and industries have developed a clever way to continue taking our money without consumers even questioning the matter. Many products that companies sell are programmed to stop working, or malfunction, after a certain amount of time or usage. This enables the company to convince us to upgrade to the latest product, which now allows us to take a picture with a few more megapixels, and we comply because our old camera broke so we might as well spend the extra $100 to get the new one.

 

For example, every day we are bombarded with a new car model, or fashion style, that is current and trendy, and this allows a person to feel good about their place in society if they buy it. Society fabricates a social structure in which you can only be on top if you are exhibiting all the most current trends, and society is also able to make people crave being in that top spot.

 

But now, companies are making it impossible to live in a world where you do not upgrade your technology, or buy the latest volume of a textbook. A Hamilton College student explains why she must spend $75 more dollars on the newest edition of her Biology textbook, “If I don’t have the latest edition then I can’t follow the same page numbers on the syllabus, so it takes me a lot longer to find out what parts I’m supposed to read for homework.” She goes on to say, “It doesn’t even make sense because when I find the part I need to read, it has exactly the same content as what is in the newest text book.”

 

Companies are finding ways to make it necessary for consumers to always require the next thing. For example, there is a company has manufactured an ink cartridge that has a smart chip, which has the ability to disable printing. It can also discourage the use of another ink cartridge, and therefore, make it necessary for the consumer to go to the store and buy another.

 

As consumers, we continually authorize this behavior because we want that new phone that can take a better picture, even if we won’t notice the difference. We live in a world today that makes it nearly impossible to not seek out the replacements for the technologies we have now, and it very hard to see an end to the constant stream of new technologies replacing the old.

 

Related Article:

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/planned-obsolescence-460210

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