Readers of this blog know I have a particular fondness for the smaller (and sometimes misunderstood) forms of life, bats, frogs, spiders and bees in particular. Although I like them for themselves, I also know that when they suffer, when they are at risk, so are we.
The New York Times has pulled together the best information from a number of scientists on the Colony Collapse Disorder that's been plaguing bees in the U.S. and Europe since 2006. It's not good news because the collapse is caused by a multitude of factors. Rowan Jacobsen writes:
Thanks to the terrific gene sleuthing of May Berenbaum and others, it looks like the pieces of the colony collapse disorder puzzle are starting to fit together. And we can stop arguing about who was right: The virus camp, the fungus camp, the pesticide camp, the varroa mite camp, or the nutrition camp. It turns out everybody was right. (Well, everybody except the cell-phone and microwave-tower camps.)The viruses compromise bees’ ability to manufacture proteins, and proteins are the tools bees use to fight off pathogens, to detoxify pesticides, to repair their cells, and to meet all the world’s other challenges. If bees lived in an utterly non-stressful world, they could go on despite the viruses. But of course they don’t live in a world anything like that.
On the frog front, entire species are disappearing and all frogs are facing habitat destruction, climate change and pesticides and pollution. A friend of mine sent me a link to Save the Frogs, which is holding an art contest. The pictures in this post are from that site. You can go there, register, and vote for your favorite. I had a hard time deciding! Fortunately, you can pick your top three. Come on, take a minute to vote and help spread awareness about the plight of frogs.