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The tragedy of the bees can seem like something happening in the vacuum of scientific study. Which is why I think it’s important when companies like Haagen-Dazs point out how big a problem is for them and takes up the cause. Everyone who has followed environmental issues at all understands what a catastrophe we’re facing. Unfortunately, most folks don’t get it.
But while it’s great that Haagen-Dazs is contributing $250,000 to research the problem, one of the bigger underlying issues is simply the monoculture farming. It means that you have to truck in bees to farms in California and Florida so that they can pollinate hundreds of thousands of acres of fruit plants and trees. It weakens them and provides a huge petri dish for exchanging diseases.
And this is the theme that keeps coming across in so many of the environmental issues we have, whether it’s sprawl, or highways, or ethanol, or the pecans that Haagen-Dazs uses in it’s popular ice cream flavors.
When environmentalists used to warn that we need to change the way we live, I think most people understand it to mean we need to put in more efficient heating and air conditioning in our homes in the burbs or we need to buy locally. What they’re talking about, and what is the next theme that has to rise to mass consumer awareness is that we’re talking about fundamentally changing how we raise food and live.
I used to think that that was an impossible idea for people to grasp. But I am beginning to think that maybe it’s not.
BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.