Sunday, November 22, 2009

And so it goes

I'm posting an article from the and think

Wing Beats:With Change Comes a Need forTolerance, Greater AwarenessBy Al Summers

As this is the last issue of B-Notes, I originally was not going to write a Wing-Beats column. However, at the last moment, some thoughts came to mind that seemed appropriate to include here as a final message to B-Notes readers.
Some who have known me personally in addition to my role as B-Notes editor-publisher have also known that I have studied and practiced East Asian disciplines for many years (principally Zen as well as Buddhist & Western psychology). A major emphasis of these teachings-practices is to always strive to find (or allow) a middle way in situations. With the passing of B-Notes, this approach seemed quite appropriate to the situation.
Since the advent of so called Colony Collapse Disorder (which I continue to feel is a poorly understood situation by many people) there seems to have been a growing amount of divisiveness and finger-pointing among beekeepers. A major point of contention has been over the alleged need to abandon commercial and particularly factory farming mentalities in agriculture, which includes beekeeping. There has even been talk coming from some alternative beekeeping advocates that CCD has been due to conventional attitudes and practices of beekeepers since the time of LL. Langstroth and the advent of standardized beekeeping equipment and practices. Many large commercial agribusiness operations on the other hand, including beekeepers, have tended to ignore or dismiss these criticisms as either irrelevant or misinformed. Both positions, it seems to me, tend to miss the point in terms of what really needs to be done to bring beekeeping successfully into the future and with a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility.
Perhaps it is due to my association with beekeepers in different countries (notably in Japan) that I have seen that beekeepers in the U.S. particularly, seem much more divisive and confrontational about not only the practices that they engage in, but in the reasons and philosophies behind what they do in beekeeping. And, as I reflect on the comparisons, it has seemed to me that at least one significant difference between U.S. beekeepers and other countries is a willingness or ability to accept change gracefully. In other words, we beekeepers here in the U.S. seem to thrive on controversy and differences, whereas in other counties the emphasis seems to be much more on working with what is in situations.
It seems to me that the hypothetical possibilities for the future of beekeeping are just that: hypothesis. It does little constructive good for the future of beekeeping to always have some point of contention about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. Conversely, it seems to me that we can and should retain those traditions and practices that have proven to be useful, but with an open and inquisitive mind regarding their application in the future, particularly with regard to environmental and ecological balance.
And so, it is with these parting thoughts that I leave you as editor-publisher of B-Notes: the future of beekeeping in Colorado, as well as in general, seems as bright or as dismal as we want to make it; we can either look forward with openness and optimism about the possibilities, or get bogged down in endless controversy and concern about the problems. The choice is ours. Best wishes! AS

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