Monday, July 27, 2009

save the bees

shannon and i watched an absolutely fascinating show last night on pbs called "silence of the bees," which is obviously a titular twist on a famous film, and appropriately so, as the film details a recent horror developing in nature: the loss of honeybees.

it was a slightly disturbing but genuinely eye-opening documentary about the drastic disappearance of honeybees not just in the usa but all around the world. nearly whole hives of adult bees just vanish. i think i heard that at one point in 2006, about a third of the honeybee hives in the usa had been lost. scientists have named the situation ccd: colony collapse disorder, and it has many of them significantly worried because without honeybees we have very few pollinators, and without pollinators we have no fruits and veggies and nuts. there are many theories as to the cause of ccd, but very few answers. most scientists and beekeepers have determined that a broad range of factors have led to this situation, including pesticides, malnourishment, and some series of pathogens. it appears that these factors have conspired together to severely cripple the bees' immune system (something like aids) so that they are unable to fight whatever illnesses enter the colony.

it is true i have a general disdain for bees in general, but i feel good because my loathing has never really been extended to honeybees, whom i've never really been threatened by. mostly i am terrified of the wasp/yellowjacket/hornet/bumblebee types, not to mention the africanized honeybees (aka: killer bees). still, i've never particularly cared for bees of any stripe, but i find myself feeling bad for them after watching "silence of the bees."

if you read the message boards on various sites dealing with this issue, you will find a great deal of fear and anxiety about ccd and what it signals for humanity, as well as myriads of conspiracy theories about the causes. just a casual perusal can leave one with a sense of hopelessness and despair, as if chicken little was a beekeeper. "the sky is falling," is one way of dealing with this information, to be sure, but it's not my approach.

as a Christian, i believe in God's redemptive powers and therefore i can face these environmental issues with a sense of confidence and reliance on God's power and God's love for creation. on the other hand - and i want to be very clear about this - i reject the all-too-common evangelical approach that involves a kind of ecological apathy, founded in a belief that God is only concerned with spirit, or that the destruction of earth and humanity will usher in the fulfillment of God's kingdom. while i have many questions about the future and what it will look like as it unfolds before us, i reject the kind of gnosticism that disregards matter and material. God created the bees. God created the flower and and pollination process. and God created the succulent peaches and the sweet bing cherries and the tart raspberries and so on. and God looked at all and called it good. and when we pray the prayer Jesus taught, we pray that God's way of life (thy will be done) would happen here on earth as it is in heaven. in other words, christians shouldn't be waiting for earth's destruction, but for its redemption. and we ought to recognize that we might just be called to be a part of that redemption. right now. that maybe, just maybe, God wants to use us in that process. and so i found God on pbs last night. reminding me to care for creation, and to do my part in maintaining the balance that allows us to enjoy its fruits.

i cannot save the bees, of course. or the glaciers or the rivers or the bald eagles or whatever. but i can recognize my part in all of this involves rejecting apathy and making difficult decisions in the face of the status quo, or laziness. my part in this involves rejecting the all-too-comfortable belief that we should just sit and watch the earth suffer at humanity's hands, and instead to be a part of the coming kingdom, that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. i can choose to open my eyes to the fact that loving God and neighbor (what Jesus called the greatest commandments) involves taking care of the environment so that there are enough resources for everyone.


Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

Very thoughtful post! I agree that most Evangelicals don't see the need to be concerned for the environment. Whether out of the view that you shared or maybe because environmentalism is a left-ish issue and therefore do not want to be associated with it.

I believe that we are stewards of all that God has given us, including our time, money, resources, AND the environment. He expects us to employ the proper use of all these things.

Have a blessed day!

Crafty P said...

you've come a long way...