Just seen a film that’s out next month in the UK, called the Vanishing of the Bees. It covers much of the same ground as A World without Bees, interviewing many of the same experts and beekeepers, but where I thought it did really well was following two US beekeepers who visit France to learn from their French counterparts about how they took on the pesticide companies and won a decade earlier. There’s a great shot of beekeepers lobbing their empty hives over the gates of chemical giant Bayer and hanging an effigy of a beekeeper from a tree, and some good footage from Germany as well of Bavarian beekeepers placing beehives outside government buildings. British beekeepers marching on parliament with their smokers wasn’t so impressive.
It was nice to see Michelle Obama in the White House garden with the beehive near the end of the film when it was showing us what we could do to try and save the bees. But it made me angry that so little progress has actually been made on this front. Bayer and the other pesticide manufactures are still getting away in most countries with peddling their potentially lethal bee wares because no money has gone into tests proving their chemicals are the crux of the problem. The £10m donated for pollinator research in the UK is no where near ready to be allocated. The Wellcome Trust and the other funders are still waiting for research proposals. But I’d be very surprised if any of it funds pesticide research. It’s laborious, unsexy work that most scientists don’t seem interested in pursuing. Maybe because lots of them are already, in one way or another, funded by the chemical corporations?
Saw the film at Pestival, the arts event at the South Bank Centre in London this weekend in celebration of the insect. I was tweeting at a mass online honeybee colony role play at Tweehive. I was playing Queen Bee. It wasn’t very busy. My colony wasn’t 50,000-strong, more like a dwindling hive. But met some great people who are also trying things to help save the bees - bumblebees, as well as honeybees.
Myself and c0-author Brian McCallum are stepping up our effort to encourage urban beekeeping. We’ve made a film showing how easy it is, which is being screened in the Pestival bee cab, and we’re running more courses. We’re also planning to sell more honey to raise awareness about how delicious London honey tastes.