A brilliant book! Author takes in the totality, the gestalt, of all factors and external variables, arriving at an understanding of the cause and problem. So too, with climate change, it isn't just about the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, but also the acidity of the ocean, methane gas release, coral reef destruction, alterations in the jet stream, extreme storm events, et cetera, et cetera and then some! The CCD is a subset of a possible or probable HCD, or Human Collapse Disorder, soon to come?
This book is yet another well written and well supported book on why we're screwed and how we did it to ourselves and the dire consequences to us that are the result of our short sighted behavior. If you need more convincing on that front, this book is highly qualified for the job. That if not why I recommend this book however. I recommend this book for the hopeful introduction beekeeping and how individuals can be both self-reliant and help the ecosystem at the same time.
Picked this book up out of idle curiosity, and now I'm glad I did. As author Jacobsen points out, bees are our oldest allies in the animal world, predating the domestic dog by thousands of years. Their vital contribution to the food chain is now in peril, though. Jacobsen is an unbiased, intelligent commentator, and after sifting through many explanations for the dying off of bees in our day, he notes that all of them have some validity, but none are sufficient explanations in themselves. He proposes that bees are victims of nothing less than the whole modern industrial-agricultural complex. A book that has given me new insights into our unsustainable agricultural practices.
I have new sympathy for honey bees! Jacobsen writes well and lays out the scenario of CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, which has caused the death of thousands of bees. I didn't know that California produces 82% of the world's almonds and that it needs almost all of the bees in the U.S. to pollinate them. The bees' normal winter sleep is interrupted so that they can be shipped off to CA in February to pollinate the almonds and to catch every new disease in the process, much like kids in school. Jacobsen carefully analyzes the causes of CCD and proposes some solutions, which include less reliance on pesticides and antibiotics. He thinks the bees are the early warning signal for disease in other foods. He gives examples such as Sichuan, China, where massive spraying of insecticides killed the bees, so humans must pollinate the pear trees! At the end of the book are suggestions for cultivating a pollinator garden, including the advice to consider eliminating lawn, for "A mowed lawn is an ecological wasteland". Jacobsen makes a dry subject very interesting.
This book is both very informative and entertaining. It provides an accurate account of the current crisis within the pollinators, the reasons for the current problems and provides well-documented examples of apiarists who are pointing the way to sustainable and humane practices.
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