Business, bees and sustainability
Recent reports in many eminent newspapers and journals indicate a sharp decline in bee populations worldwide. The causes cited for the demise of world bee populations are varied and include environmental pressures, such as depletion of habitats, global warming, technology invasiveness, stress, pesticides and a mite called Varroa destructor.
Strangely bees are also failing to return to their hives. This, among other factors has led to a scenario called Colony Collapse Disorder. As we face an economic recession worldwide, bee populations also appear to be in recession. The two systems failing simultaneously and in a strange way the demise of both closely linked. Housing expansion has forced the bee from it’s natural habitat in large swathes of the countryside whilst the property bubble has contributed to the current financial crisis, but more on that at a later date.
- What has the decline in bee population got to do with business?
- Are bees the new canary in the mine shaft?
- Could this be a warning of a failing global ecosystem?
- What’s the connection to Sustainability?
Well the answers to these questions pose interesting challenges for the future of humans. Since bees are an integral part of the human food supply, helping in the pollination of an estimated 25% of food producing plants that humans consume, then bees have a lot to do with business. No pollination, no food. No food, no industry.
The ecosystem is indeed a complex one and currently under huge pressure from everywhere. The solution needs to be system based, that is an holistic solution to an holistic issue. Remember that before we had global food supply chains, farmers, monks and everyone in between were more closely connected to the nurturing of bee hives, the production of honey and food in general.
What is happening to the bees should be a wake up call to all and is symptomatic of collapses in other ecosystems, fish populations as one example. With a recession in our economy perhaps we have an opportunity to spend more time preserving our natural resources rather than simply expecting resources to always be available. We could begin by thinking about more sustainable business practices as a means to helping bee populations recover. Perhaps reducing our use of pesticides would be a good start, or buying local as a means to supporting local agricultural production and land preservation and recovery.
Perhaps it’s time for Business, Bees and Sustainability to get together.
More on this subject at a later date…..