After mad cow and chicken fever, you'd think people would be thinking twice about the wisdom of our industrial agricultural methods. But you'd be wrong.
The latest crisis is the massive die-off of honey-bees. This is becoming a serious threat to our food supplies, which depend on the bees for pollinations.
A number of possible factors are being considered; cell-phone radiation, GM crops, new pesticides, immune collapse due to stress.
Some of these may be partial explanations. I don't buy the idea of cell-phones having a major effect; we've saturated the ether with RF radiation for decades now and the picayune amount added by cell-phone towers shouldn't make that big a difference. (Pity though, it would be grand to have an excuse to ban the damned things)
GM crops seem to be a more likely causal agent; these weird genetic brews have been unleashed haphazardly on the environment and we are just beginning to see the fall-out.
But it seems that there is an over-arching systemic issue here; same one that was behind the mad-cow and crazy-chicken episodes - the greedy capitalist itch to wrack more and more out of Mother Nature.
Bee-keeping has gone industrial. The same intemperate use of chemical inputs that characterize the keeping of larger stock also goes into the bee-hives. Honey is just a side-line for modern bee-keepers, the big bucks is in trucking the bees around the countryside to perform crop pollination services, a highly unnatural life for the bees to say the least. What's more, some bright bulb thought of the idea of making pre-formed combs larger than nature's to force the bees to grow bigger.
The really telling detail is that organic bee-keepers who use natural sized combs and no chemical inputs are not experiencing bee death.