May 26, 2011- Hosted in the swanky environs of Turkish Tabaq Bistro, over fifty people attended my screening of the Vanishing of the Bees. Environmentalists, entrepreneurs, honey connoisseurs, and friends alike gathered from over four countries and 22 states. It was a great showing, and a super informative film… but before even continuing, thanks are in order. First, here’s a shout-out to Tabaq Bistro for providing the space for this event. I couldn’t have asked for a better venue, with its delicious wallet friendly Turkish food, and a scenic windowed roof-top – Tabaq is as close as you can get to Istanbul without buying a plane ticket. Thank you also to all of the friends who came, it was great to have you there!
Now, for the film. The film follows two commercial beekeepers, David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes, as they investigate the causes of bee disappearances in the United States and abroad. Highlights from the film include:
1. Beekeepers crying (oh no!). Its sad but effective to watch beekeepers describe the plight of their bees – emotion and waterworks included. They care, not just for their livelihoods which depend on bees, but also because they are well aware of what life would be like for all of us without them. Their message couldn’t be clearer.
2. Coverage of the EPA and how systemic pesticides has lead to CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). This argument also highlights how direct applications of pesticides might kill bees immediately, but has a less dangerous effect long-term. Neither direct nor systemic pesticide use is ideal, but no one imagined the impact that systemic pesticides could have (especially Bayer and the EPA who cleared Clothianidin to be used without completing due diligence on its danger to bees and the environment).
3. Beekeepers in France burn bee-boxes in bonfires to protest pesticides. Whereas, “in the U.S. we write letters.” And blogs. Guilty as charged.
4. There are 1,001 interesting things to learn about bees and honey, for example, that honey is the only food that alone can sustain human life.
5. Bee cartoons rock (a crowed favorite was “if bees had cell-phones”). Let it also be noted that Ellen Paige wins for sexy documentary voice, and Haagen-Daz took home the prize for best “save the bees” commercials.
As the documentary is 90 minutes, it was a bit long for the regular viewer, and a more-serious-than-comfortable investigation into the many culprits of CCD, but the message was memorable across the board. Days after, friends of mine who previously knew nothing about bees were quoting facts; from dropping information about queen bees fighting, to the danger of large corn crops in the US for bees, to how they were going to stop mowing their lawns and let the wild things be. Sounds pretty inspired to me.
To learn more about the film or hosting your own screening, check out the Save the Bees website here.
Check out the media below to catch a clip from the film, as well as a few of my Haagen-Daaz commercial favorites.