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Molly O'Connor

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Where would you place Colony Collapse Disorder in relation to the many other problems facing our society?

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating one out of every three bites of food we consume. They pollinate more than 90% of the fruits and vegetables we eat, resulting in a net input of 36 billion dollars annually to the global economy. In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon occurred within honeybee populations in the United States. Without any warning, millions of honeybees disappeared from their hives. No bee carcasses were found, and it was observed that only worker bees were disappearing. Worker bees are responsible for collecting pollen, nectar, raising brood, and other essential hive functions. This loss of worker honeybees resulted in unstable honeybee hives, and led to the most serious die-off of honeybee colonies across the country recorded to date. Scientists have dubbed this occurrence Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is still occurring to this day. It is likely that multiple stresses are causing the collapse of honeybee colonies globally. It is widely believed that honeybees are the “canary in the coal mine” for our environment, and that the disappearance of the honeybee is a sign that our global ecosystem is in peril.

Where would you place Colony Collapse Disorder in relation to the many other problems facing our society? What tools, approaches, and collaborations are required to “get the ball rolling” and lay the groundwork for solving this issue?

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    Mar 15 2012: Like many are saying, CCD is a mysterious problem with no known causes or solutions. For this reason, I think it is very important to educate people about this issue and hope that by raising awareness, we can also increase funding for research regarding this dilemma. I didn't know about CCD until a couple days ago and this is a thing that has been going on for 6 YEARS. Not only that, but I'm a biology major. There are so many people living in the United States who know nothing about the bee crisis and therefore don't know that it needs funding and attention. I think spreading the word is the first order of business on our bee-saving agenda.
    • Mar 15 2012: I agree, education on the issues is very important, it will allow the general public to become aware of the issue. HOwever we are still not exactly sure what is causing CCD, so how do we prioritize it on our list of social issues, do we go head first and tell everyone the bees are going to disappear or wait and see what research reveals?
      • Mar 15 2012: It is fairly common knowledge by now that our honey bee populations are at a very disastrous decline. I first found out about it my freshman year when it was advertised on the side of a milk carton, and since then there have been many news editorials, TV reports, and documentaries explaining the significance of the calamity to the general public. Unfortunately, like the coverage of the Occupy movement, this story is difficult to keep fresh in the minds of a TV audience. What's more, you are right about how hard it is to prioritize it on our list of ever-increasing social issues. We are, however, talking about food, one of our basic needs as human beings. Losing the pollinators of nearly half of our total food stocks will prove devastating to the economy, and more importantly it will potentially cause the deaths of millions of people around the world. We need to address CCD as one of our priorities as far as social issues go.

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