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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An angry buzzing noise to warn..., 29 Feb. 2012
This review is from: A World Without Bees (Paperback)
In 2008 Society Guardian editor Alison Benjamin and her Geography teacher partner Brian McCallum, who keep bees as a hobby, wrote the book A World Without Bees.

A highly fluid text, the shocking truth on bees, their health and the commercial beekeeping occupation is easily read. Benjamin and McCallum cover all corners of the beekeeping globe, and all the problems, innovations, opinions and possible solutions to the flight of the bee from their homes in the latest epidemic - Colony Collapse Disorder.

In the book, the writers show the ancient and continuing importance of bees to humans, exemplified in their inclusion of such prominent people's words on the fuzzy fellows and cultures, such as Aristotle, the Egyptians, Pliny the Elder, the Aztecs, Anglo-Saxon feudal lords, medieval Russia and Britain, Christianity and the Pilgrim Fathers to name but a few.

The co-authors also show that the bee and its hierarchy have been used to justify and explain feudalism, parliamentary rule, the French Revolution and industrialisation. (The last being one reason why we've chosen to start a project on trying to save bees since it is the symbol of Manchester, where industrialisation began, and where you can see bees in our neo-Gothic town hall and on our bollards.)

But they also get down to the nitty-gritty, interviewing scientists and beekeepers from all over the world and all walks of life, looking at the evidence and trying to evaluate what is happening. We start in California's almond orchards that stretch millions of miles across (and today happens to be Almond Day in the USA, coincidentally). We learn that beekeepers 'truck' (to use the Americanism) their bee colonies across vast stretches of land to pollinate these trees, and then onto blueberries and pumpkins and other such areas so the crop is bountiful. They also get paid a pretty penny for the hard work of their bees.

But the transportation, the use of chemical pesticides, fungicides on the plants and the bees themselves, global warming with frequent change in weather, monoculture, the lack of fallowing and crop rotation, loss of habitat, urbanisation, pollution, GM crops, malnutririon, mites and viruses and overworking the bees that we put them through are all possible reasons why the bees are on the decline. And all these reasons are chased by the beekeeping duo.

Bees provide us with food to feed ourselves and our animals through pollination, to feed herbivores and the animals that feast on them through pollination, to clothe us and provide wax for our cars and make-up, to give us live-saving ingredients for cancer treatments and heart treatments; the bee is the heartbeat of the world, and if the bee were to vanish than the world will go into acute myocardial infarction. Or collapse, to be frank. This book highlights the need for bees, not just for our economies, not just for our food and clothing and medicines, but the importance of the Earth's life itself.

A truly fascinating read. You'll be buzzing about this book for a long time after reading it. The authors even have a blog which you can visit: [...] .

If you're into bees, saving the planet or even economics, this book will provide the right information for you.
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