Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bees and the Enduring Conflict I

Schnaiberg and Gould argue that the conflict between the ecological environment and human society has always existed. Environmentally oriented individuals often romanticize pre-industrial societies and their "oneness" with nature. Schnaiberg and Gould state that pre-industrial societies simply didn't have the technological capacity to overcome the short term ecological limits the environment placed on them. (p24)These societies simply collapsed and disappeared (see the Mayans). Industrialism's technological capacities have allowed our growth economies to survive beyond the ecological limits in the short-term and there are many still who argue that it will be science/technology that will allow modern economies to grow still further without environmental degradation. Anyone who questions the desirably of growth economies is labelled as unrealistic or worse.

Now let's consider how bees fair on this growth treadmill, and whether much of the bees problems today might be the result of expecting bees to live beyond the ecological limits placed on them by the natural environment. Are we expecting the science/technology of present day entomology and apiculture to save this creature that is being pushed beyond its environmental parameters? Are we forgetting that our environmental problems are not simply scientific/technical problems with scientific/technical solutions but problems with a social structural, political, economic, and cultural foundation (p 146) as well.

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