NI 425 - Where have all the Bees gone? - September, 2009

NI 425 - September, 2009

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Where have all the Bees gone?

A note from the editor

Wayne Ellwood

I had a lot of help and advice when I was preparing this issue from people who know much more about bees than I’ll ever dream of knowing. One was Charlie Parker, a beekeeper who lives near Beamsville, Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls. Charlie generously gave me a day of his time, drove me to see some of his hives and told me his life story. He started keeping bees when he was 13; he’s now 62. ‘It’s just like a disease, beekeeping,’ Charlie mused. ‘Once you’re stung, you’ve got the bug.’ No pun intended.

NI friend and frequent contributor Mari Marcel Thekaekara, and her partner Stan, also helped by contributing the article on honey gatherers in Tamil Nadu, India. Keeping it in the family, her two sons shot a wonderful sequence of photos to illustrate the article.

Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to read about Charlie in the pages of this magazine. Nor see all the photos sent by Mari and Stan.

But take heart digital devotees. We will be featuring the full interview with Charlie and all the photos from Mari and Stan on our website when this issue is posted in a few weeks’ time.

Instead, we’ve added some timely features – including an analysis of the foreign aid debate sparked by the contentious Nigerian academic, Dambisa Moyo. And a pressing piece from journalist Nick Harvey on the situation of Hmong refugees in Thailand.

We’re still not sure if the exploding world of digital media will be our demise or our salvation here at NI. But at least it gives you a chance to read the stuff we couldn’t squeeze into print.

Wayne Ellwood for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Photo by Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters

Why are they dying?

Wayne Ellwood investigates the case of the missing bees.

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It’s safe to say that the late John Muir would not recognize California’s vast Central Valley were he to visit today. When the intrepid Scots-American naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club travelled by foot through the region in the 1860s and 1870s he was astounded by the richness and diversity of the plants and flowers which carpeted the valley bottom and surged up the mountain slopes. In rapturous prose he described what he called the ‘bee pastures’:

When California was wild, i...




Features

Bountiful Banyan.

The Bees' Knees - The Facts

Facts and figures on bees, honey & the food connection.

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Children as young as eight go along not just as spectators but to actively participate. By the time they are 12 they are full members of the team.

Honey is life

Gathering wild honey is an age-old tradition in South India. Mari Marcel Thekaekara and her husband Stan see how it’s done.

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Vancouver’s apiary missionary Brian Campbell: ‘If you care about grizzly bears, help the bees.’

Backyard beehives

A walk on the wild side with Hadani Ditmars.

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Photo: Bill Ross / CORBIS

A stressed world

Extinction is forever. Can we stop the slide in bio-diversity?

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Destruction in the name of progress: hardwood rainforest logs being stacked for export near Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Looting of a small planet

It won’t be easy but Philip Chandler argues that beekeepers themselves need to lead a revolution in sustainability.

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Everything is a world market

Charlie Parker operates Charlie Bee Honey near Niagara Falls, Ontario. He reflects on his 50 years as a beekeeper.

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The case for real aid

The case for real aid

Jonathan Glennie takes on both the aid optimists and the pessimists.

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Some call it ‘live aid’. Some call it  ‘dead aid’. The aid debate is raging.

Boon or burden?

Some call it 'live aid'. Some call it 'dead aid'. The debate is raging. Vanessa Baird and Jonathan Glennie tell the story so far...

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An indigenous Wayuu woman protests in Bogotá, Colombia. Her people are threatened with extinction by the actions of government, left-wing guerillas and multinational corporations. Humanitarian aid agencies, however, offer support and human rights training. Photo by John Vizcaino / Reuters.

Summing up...

Vanessa Baird draws a few conclusions.

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An internally displaced girl carries a pitcher of water in the Swat Valley.

Why Pakistan's Taliban win as they lose

Pakistan's army offensive has wrongfooted the Taliban. But the larger war of ideas has yet to be won. Pervez Hoodbhoy explains.

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The family of a five-year-old killed during a raid by the Lao People's Army mourn at the child's grave. Thousands of Hmong, who fought or collaborated with the CIA until communists took over the country in 1975, remain hidden in the jungles of Laos. Photo by Tomas van Houtryve / Panos

Jungle orphans

Nick Harvey reports on the position of the Hmong – both inside Laos and the bleak refugee camps of Thailand.

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Blog

Battered on all sides

Battered on all sides

It’s not just hurricanes that the people of Haiti are struggling against.

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Read more blogs...

Currents

Mohammad Khan in chains: ‘They are not letting me go from here. When can I go from here?’

Making me crazy

The treatment of Afghans with mental illness is only adding to their trauma.

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Out in the open

Out in the open

Landmark ruling in India delights activists

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Goodbye to Guy

Guy Stringer, director of Oxfam, chair of Devopress who initially published New Internationalist magazine in 1974.

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Carbon cowboys

Carbon cowboys

No international agreement exists on reducing emissions from forests, but that hasn’t stopped companies attempting to profit from it

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Regulars

Interview with Mike Bonanno

Mike Bonanno is a cultural activist and one half of the Yes Men. Five years ago he and sidekick Andy Bichlbaum were invited on to BBC World News pretending to represent Dow Chemicals, whose environmental legacy included the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

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Why children work

Why children work

Jeremy Seabrook visits Bangladesh to better understand the roots of child labour.

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Niger

The top tourist destination in Niger until the late 1980s, the city of Agadez – located in the dead centre of the country – is today no more than a shadow of its former self.

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Wealth in abundance

'Make do and mend' is a time-honoured Egyptian talent, discovers Maria Golia.

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Big Bad World - Mass suicide

Mass suicide the CO2 way in Polyp’s cartoon.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Sin Nombre

Sin Nombre

A road movie cum Western. Or, rather, it's a railroad movie and the 'West' - where innumerable migrants are headed on railroad wagons - is more accurately the 'North', the US.

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Working

Working

A graphic adaptation of the book by Studs Terkel by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle.

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Siwan

Siwan

For all its ancient antecedents, Siwan is a very modern album and a joyous meditation for that.

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The Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revival

The Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revival

Starting where founding father of afrobeat Fela Kuti left off, this album features energetic tracks of sweaty inventiveness.

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2666

2666

It takes a singular talent to make a book of 1,000 pages that is as hard to put down as it is to pick up. Despite its size, 2666 retains the agility of a thriller.

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Also worth a mention...

Also worth a mention...

CDs that didn't quite make a full review, but are still worthy of a mention.

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Three Miles North of Molkom

Three Miles North of Molkom

At a new age festival in Sweden, a group of people who’ve never met before explore tree-hugging, sweat lodges, shamanism, tantric sex.

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