The Plight of the Bee


I was stung by a bee the other day while bike riding on the Mt. Vernon Trail. The little bugger got into my helmet, and the sting was painful, causing quite a spastic moment for onlookers. But I have to say, when I got my helmet off and saw that the offender had survived its attack, I was happy. Bees, while little pests at times, are very needed… and endangered.

Bees, in particular honey bees, are disappearing from our world. There are a few reasons scientists are debating, but the impact on our food supply cannot be underestimated. Bees are a top pollinator and are often used in farms to ensure well, that crops actually grow. Without bees you are looking at a serious food crisis.

There’s a vaccine for honey bees now, which will hopefully resolve the issue. It’s not just honey bees. I’ve noticed that there a lot less bees around, in general. Yellow jackets, for example, are much less present in my neighborhood as compared to five years ago. They’ve migrated north.

Beyond bees there’s a larger trend at play, amphibians and bats have suddenly started dropping dead. The New Yorker chronicled the mass endangerment and possible extinction of these species in a recent article, which showed empirically that we are in the Sixth Age of Extinction.

It’s hard to argue deny that the rise of the human race is having a dramatic affect on our earth. Our incredibly burgeoning population and the resulting vast amount of pollution and excess energy burned is creating what I continue to believe is the crisis of our generation. The evidence is mounting, and worse, it’s accelerating. Whether it’s the bees or frogs, the Antarctic ice or the ocean temperature, we’ve created a ticking time bomb called climate change.

I’ve been blessed to do a lot of nonprofit work over the years, but this is the crisis of our generation. It seems though we acknowledge the issue, we are intent on letting it escalate until the consequences become dire. And that scares the daylights our of me. See climate change is nondiscriminatory, race, ethnicity, sex, age, region, economic status. It will affect us all. We have to do something.

And when I think of my own actions, increasingly I am focussing on this crisis. I continue to work with Live Earth as a social media advisor, and increasingly I am doing more privately to work on climate change. While I am sure this activity will continue to accelerate in my life, in the interim I’ll be grateful for my bee sting. I hope to get a few more this lifetime, climate change willing.