Photo Essay: Bees and Beekeepers In Crisis

Photo: Hendrix Bros. and Griffis Bros., Georgia, August 2007 (Photo: Kate Kunath)

Balancing act with chemicals
“I do empathize with the farmer who is using chemicals to grow food in order to maintain his livelihood,” she says. “I really do believe that the farmers and the beekeepers have our best interests in mind when managing the bees and the land [and] when applying these [labelled] chemicals. But right now the information on these packages is not telling the whole story… For farmers, it's a balancing act with chemicals, and it is a very delicate and complex issue which does not have an easy solution.”

Photo: David and Spencer Adams, Florida Pollinator, Florida, August 2007 (Photo: Kate Kunath)

But whatever their disagreements over chemicals, it seems that unity between all parties is key. "Collaboration between beekeepers and farmers will be important in resolving these issues. I see these two groups at odds over issues of transparency regarding their practices, a divide which is damaging to both," states Kunath. "Farmers, beekeepers, and environmentalists are on the same side of the fence, and if their resources were combined they would form a powerful coalition to demand better government support."

Photo: David Hackenberg Sr. and Jr., Hackenberg Apiaries, Florida, February 2008 (Photo: Kate Kunath)

Even broader connections
In the near future, Kunath hopes to bring Stung nationwide. Bejing to Sichuan: Finding the Rabbit King is her other recent photo essay on rapid industrialization in China and of communities "struggling to keep its local economy alive, and its families together" during the pre-Olympic fever. Though the two works may seem disconnected, there are actually has some broader connections between them.

"At first glance, CCD and this issue of rapid industrialization may not seem connected but CCD is directly the result of the industrialization of agriculture," Kunath asserts. "Local economies based on the 'genius of the place' [a play on the words genus loci] are being replaced by corporations and the demands of shareholders. If we are going to ever reverse the greed of corporations and take back our environment, local economies, and indigenous culture, we have to act."

Kate Kunath
Related Links on Vanishing Bees
The Latest on the Disappearing Honeybee Mystery
Lawsuit Filed to Force EPA to Give Up Documents on Pesticide’s Impact on Honey Bees
Bayer in the Dock Over Pesticide Linked to Colony Collapse Disorder

Tags: Artists | Arts | Colony Collapse Disorder | Photography | United States

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