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by Slow Food DC member Kate Hill

Watching Vanishing of the Bees reminds me how much of our existence we take for granted. Like walking through life with blinders on, so caught up in the here and now of self that we pay little attention to the beauty and the mystery that make the journey possible.

My family has been lucky over the years to have hands-on experience with honeybees. A good friend has kept several hives and has enlisted my sons to help him extract the honey every year since they were old enough to understand the process. Even still, I think we all fail to acknowledge what an intrinsic part of the food chain, what an immeasurable service to our own life the bee is. Painfully revealed in the film is our own complicity in allowing the toxic process that is endangering not only the bees but the planet and our own health.

Why aren’t we angrier? At stake is life itself. Society seems willing to go along and not question (with apologies to Al Gore) the “inconvenient truth” of agribusiness, choosing not to see the reality of the cost of “progress.” Towards the end of the film Bill Maher makes a brief quip on honeybee die-offs serving as “Mother Nature’s wake up call” and it struck a chord– but do we really take the warnings to heart? With colony collapse disorder the bees are forcing us to take a hard look again at how we do things. We need to be the change we wish to see to save not only the bees but ourselves.