More Than 500,000 Bees Die After Their Hives Are Set on Fire | 22 Words

Climate change is happening at an unprecedented rate. As more harmful gases are released, the world continues to heat up exponentially. It is causing issues for many creatures and their habitats, and most people are scrambling to come up with a solution. However, some people seem intent on doing their utmost to undo everyone else's efforts.

Bees are essential in our lives, yet so many humans are having a terrible impact on them, often without even realizing. Luckily, some people are starting to speak up to make the world take action.

There is an environmental emergency.

The UK parliament has just become the first in the world to declare an "environment and climate emergency." The hope is that it will trigger action from other governments around the world so that we can start to make the changes needed to prevent further climate change.

What is Extinction Rebellion?

The declaration is a direct result of the work by the protest movement called Extinction Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion (or XR) is defined as: 'A socio-political movement which uses nonviolent resistance to protest against climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse."

What did they do?

Tens of thousands of protestors took part in civil disobedience in London for nine days, blocking the streets and also the trains at four transport hubs. They sang songs, played music, and they even erected desks so that people could work remotely while protesting. There was also a ban on alcohol and drug consumption, making it an incredibly wholesome atmosphere.

It was a peaceful protest.

All of their actions were peaceful. They let the emergency services through and were in no way violent. They were simply letting the government see how important the issue is and how many people care, so that we can avert a worsening climate situation. Despite this, the police arrested over 1,000 people, although no police officers were harmed in any way throughout the protests.

It is a movement that unites everyone, including celebrities.

Several famous people got involved. Author, Phillip Pullman, and Olympic gold-medal canoeist, Etienne Stott, both attended. An ex-archbishop of Canterbury held a prayer circle with people of all faiths. Dame Emma Thompson was on top of a pink boat at Oxford Circus and Greta Thunberg gave a speech. There was even a secret gig played by Massive Attack under the name "the Stroud Village Green Band".

Now the Extinction Rebellion movement has gone international.

In Australia, XR have done a climate teach-in at their parliament, plus they have been blockading coal trains in Brisbane. This is in addition to 150,000 students going on strike in Australia in March, along with 1.4 million people globally, to show how seriously young people are taking the dangers of inaction with regard to climate change. This was, of course, the result of Greta Thunberg taking action originally.

In America, it is the Sunrise Movement that is making an impact.

The Sunrise Movement began as less than thirty young people wanting to support the New Green Deal and make a real change to the inaction over climate change. Their support has grown exponentially and there are now some Democrat candidates who are looking at taking on and implementing the Green New Deal.

What is the Green New Deal?

The New Deal of 1933 was implemented by President Roosevelt following the Great Depression. It looked at improving economic equality through a set of social and economic reforms, plus a huge public works project. The Green New Deal looks to address climate change and economic equality in a similar way. It looks to boost the world economy by providing green jobs and curbing climate change.

Extreme weather is a result of human-induced climate change.

We can all see that there have been some huge changes in the climate over the last few years. In a lot of countries, it's been in the form of early springs, more extreme winters, far hotter summers, and generally less predictable weather. But, while in Europe, and, to some extent, America, the weather changes are easy to brush under the carpet, in the rest of the world, the changes are far more dangerous.

It is often the poorer countries that suffer the most.

Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were struck by Cyclone Idai last month, and Mozambique was then hit again, along with Madagascar and Tanzania, by Cyclone Kenneth. There is no record of two back-to-back cyclones ever hitting Mozambique before, yet never-before events like this are happening increasingly frequently these days.

We live in an age of extremes.

Last winter, the weather in Chicago was at a record-breaking low. There was a risk of almost instant frostbite as polar winds came down from the Arctic. Meanwhile, in Australia, there was a severe drought that stretched across much of the country as temperatures were at a record high.

The world is heating up.

Several famous people got involved. Author, Phillip Pullman, and Olympic gold-medal canoeist, Etienne Stott, both attended. An ex-archbishop of Canterbury held a prayer circle with people of all faiths. Dame Emma Thompson was on top of a pink boat at Oxford Circus and Greta Thunberg gave a speech. There was even a secret gig played by Massive Attack under the name "the Stroud Village Green Band".

Natural habitats are being destroyed.

The change in climate is, of course, having a huge impact on nature. Plants and crops are struggling to grow in these new conditions. They are also being affected by a change to animals and insects' lives. As their habitats are changed, in large part by the expansion of farmlands or energy sources, they are no longer able to survive. This, in turn, affects the pollination of many plants, flowers, and crops.

Humans have wiped out 60% of animals.

A report by the World Wildlife Foundation shows that from 1970 to 2014, humans caused a wipeout of 60% of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. The natural world is critical for both our food and our clean water, as well as for regulating the Earth's climate, pollution, and pollination.

More people are turning to veganism.

As a result of the effects on farmland, a startling amount of people have started to become vegetarians and even vegans. In fact, in 2017 there was a 987% increase in people becoming vegetarians and the number of people turning vegan quadrupled from 2012 to 2017. They are hoping to limit their negative effect on the environment. The effect of livestock on the environment is two-fold.

Farm animals release massive amounts of methane.

Firstly, livestock such as cattle and sheep emit huge quantities of methane gas. It is like carbon dioxide, but the negative effect on the climate is 23 times worse. This means that the average amount of methane that a cow emits in one year is the same as driving 12,500 km a year. This distance is similar to driving from Seattle to Miami three times.

Deforestation is a big problem with farming.

The second big impact of rearing livestock is the amount of land that they require. Deforestation is taking place at a rapid rate in order to feed us meat. At the same time, the livestock also needs to be fed, which takes up further land. In order to have land for the livestock and their food, habitats of hundreds of other species are being destroyed.

Life is not always as simple as it seems.

The problem with becoming vegan is that it is still not black and white; there is still a lot of research that needs to be done. For example, to produce 1 liter of almond milk, it requires 6,098 liters of water. Another example is the production of soy, which is used for animal feed and tofu. It is causing huge amounts of deforestation across South America. This means that tofu from deforested areas of Brazil has twice the carbon footprint of chicken, which may be reared closer to home without requiring deforestation.

Why can't vegans eat avocados?

In October 2018, the British comical quiz panel show, QI, suggested that strict vegans are not able to eat almonds, kiwis, melons, butternut squashes, or the perennial favorite, avocados. This is because bees are used to pollenate them.

Everyone likes bees.

Bees have strangely become increasingly popular over the last few years as people have started to take their plight to heart. They look warm and fuzzy plus they only sting once, if under attack, and then they die. Sadly, the same cannot be said for wasps' popularity, despite doing a similar job and the fact that it is only a minority of social wasps that sting...

Honey bees are worth a lot of money.

Honey bees are pollinators. They gather pollen and nectar as food for their colony. When they travel from plant to plant, bits rub of pollen rub off from their bodies to the flowers, this helps them to pollinate. The process is an essential part of crop pollination and contributes nearly $20bn to the value of US crop production.

Crops rely on bees to pollinate.

Almonds and avocados depend entirely on bees for pollination, and blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent. It is for this reason that there are claims that vegans shouldn't eat them. In order to pollinate the crops, bee colonies are transported to farms, which takes them away from their natural habitats and can severely impact their survival rates.

Bees are facing extinction.

Many species of bees are facing extinction for a number of reasons. One key reason is that bees are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The reasons for CCD are mostly human-induced. Pesticides, herbicides and habitat loss all have a huge impact on bees' survival rates, as well as parasitic mites and viruses.

So should vegans avoid food that bees have pollinated?

VeganLife argues that veganism is about avoiding the exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals "as far as is possible and practicable". They argue that it would be almost impossible to avoid any foods that have been pollinated by bees, but that it is about doing the best you can. But in Texas, someone has delivered a significant setback.

Beekeeping is a popular hobby.

Even Morgan Freeman does it. And in Brazoria County in Angleton, near Houston, Texas, people were doing their best to cultivate bees in a natural environment at the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association. It is a place wherein people not only seek to have a positive impact on the environment but also a place where people keep a quiet hobby and wish to raise awareness about bees. But all that has been destroyed now.

Someone has destroyed twenty-four bee colonies.

An unknown suspect tore apart the beehives and then set them on fire. This malicious act has killed more than 500,000 bees; it's caused several thousand dollars' worth of damage, and taken away a valuable asset to the community. It is an incomprehensible action.

People online can't believe what they are seeing.

There are so many problems in the world that it seems so odd that someone would choose to create this one too... What could bees have possibly done to someone to make them angry enough to murder half a million of them?

It's hard to understand why someone would do this.

This was a purposeful attack, but it just doesn’t make any sense. Rather than being a victim-less crime, it's a reason-less crime. The bees are helping us to pollinate and eat, despite the fact that humans keep destroying their homes, and someone just went along and murdered them. Unbelievable.

There is a reward available for information.

Brazoria County Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that will help them to arrest and convict the vandal/s. The Brazoria County Beekeepers Association is offering an additional $1,000. Hopefully, this reward will help to entice people to track down the perpetrator/s.

There are some good people in the world.

The Brazoria County Beekeeper's Association set up a donation page, and so far they have received over $16,000. At least some people can see that we need the bees. The world is in trouble. We have a climate emergency on our hands. We need to all pull together to enforce the changes that will save our planet. What we don't need is people ripping down those efforts. So let's hope that this doesn't happen again, and that, instead, we can continue with our efforts to build the planet that we want, and that our future generations deserve.