As the political theater shifts from Camp David – in the woods of Maryland this past weekend, after the G8 meeting – to the windy city of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pow wows, the principal point being impressed upon by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, is food.
Food security, by definition, is often about the more esoteric aspects of economic policy: distribution, free trade, the cost to the tax payer of agricultural subsidies since the days of the Great Depression – the reconsideration of which – among other things such as Russia and Obama – ended the career of sensible Washington politicians such as Richard Lugar of Indiana, and the more existential question of feeding 7 billion people every day besides, of course, trivialities such as growing marijuana in the backyards of California and Maine or in the Hawai’ian Islands, interspersed with the rest of the weeds such as coca in Colombia or poppy in Khandahar, Afghanistan.
The sustainable reality of securing global food supplies from the bread baskets of the world where there is more focus these days on using trees to print paper money than there is to diminish denudation, a cause of extinction, is bees.
The entomological protagonists since the days of Abhignana Shakuntalam of Mahakavi Kalidasa about the founding of Baharata in metaphorical Sanskrit, the insects of Edward O Wilson, Professor Emeritus at Harvard, who is spearheading a project to catalog all life on earth, are the tangible living symbols of global sustainability.
The winged creatures buzz around pollinating flowering plants to produce the produce we take for granted in supermarkets everywhere, from the bazaars of Africa to the farmers’ markets in suburban Virginia, besides, of course, the savannah, the steppe, the prairie, and the pampas.
If some dispirited agricultural scientist conceives a potion to treat bees akin to mosquitoes, the extinction of the bee means the extinction of homo sapiens and of civilization as we know it.
Cataclysmic extinction events can be self-induced in species self-hatred and in silence to end the The Anthropocene Age.