The Vanishing of the Bees

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 5:27pm.



Maryam Henein is a renaissance woman. She is an investigative journalist, documentary and television producer and on-air talent. She has worked with documentary heavyweights including Morgan Spurlock of SuperSize Me and 30 Days fame, and Robert Greenwald, perhaps the biggest thorn in the side of Fox News. - An Interview with Maryam Henein, Co-Producer and Co-Director ~ Videos

I recently chatted with her about a new project about Colony Collapse Disorder, The Vanishing of the Bees.

Leskie Berliant: What is the film about?

Maryam Henein: The Vanishing of the Bees looks at the economic, scientific, spiritual and political implications of Colony Collapse Disorder. Initially we were just looking at CCD, but now we are looking at the entire bee keeping industry and how that relates to our earth and our agricultural system. We are disconnected with where our food comes from and disconnected from ourselves and the planet.

LB: How did you get interested in the topic of bees?

MH: Initially, George Langworthy, my friend and partner, said the bees are disappearing back in April. Shortly afterwards, I was driving from Hollywood to Santa Monica and there was a bee that had attached itself to my windshield wiper. I tried to get her to leave, but she wouldn't. I was really afraid that her wings would get ripped off if I got on the highway. When I stopped to get a coffee, I somehow knew that when I came back, she would be gone and she was. After that there was an emergency press conference where we met a bee keeper and then another and another. When I found out that the bee is a symbol of the sacred feminine and that they have been abandoning the brood and the queen, I found that to be an interesting parallel to us and our abandoning the sacred feminine and mother earth. It's interesting, if there's a hive of 50,000, out of them, only 200 are males, so it's really a sister society.

LB: Humans have a long history of relationship to honeybees, especially as relates to our food supply, why do you think we've become so disconnected from that?

MH: Well, along with everything else in the industrial age, it's all about quick results. We live in a box just like bees do and society is fueled by fear and greed. Who has time to think about where is my asparagus coming from? We live in a society where we are disconnected from the planet and from our roots. We take and take and take and the bees are here to give us a message. They're the canary in the mine. I see this as a wake up call. This crisis can be an opportunity. I was afraid of bees. I didn't know that they aren't just here to make honey for us, that they are vital to our food supply. They show us how every living being plays a role in our future.

LB: There's a YouTube video of you sitting among thousands of bees. What was that like? ~ (See this video below.)

MH: It was lovely. It was just very, very peaceful. Bees emanate love and I've just fallen in love with them. People think that they are dangerous. They don't sting unless provoked because if they sting, they die. In that case, we were in Bakersfield and the beekeeper was giving them a pollen supplement so they were eating and not paying attention to me at all. It was very meditative.

LB: As you are talking to bee keepers and scientists, do you find that they are making any progress in identifying the cause of CCD?

MH: I think initially a year ago when we started doing the research, they were looking for a silver bullet. Now a year later they are realizing it is more of a synergy and a whole host of things. The bees' immune systems are really compromised and it is a whole host of things.

LB: I have heard bee keepers speculate that CCD may be caused by a relatively new form of nicotine based pesticide. Why don't beekeepers refuse to bring their bees to farms that are using pesticides?

MH: Some of them have tried and told farmers I won't bring bees if you are using neonicotinoids. You're right, they can take their power back, but also they are thinking that they need to feed their family and make up their losses from the previous years, so it's difficult. France banned neonicotinoids. Here there is a lawsuit about it with a gag order. A lot of beekeepers aren't activists, they're farmers and people are scared to speak the truth and the farmers feel they need to do whatever they need to do to make sure the produce is perfect looking because looks are what matter. People want a nice shiny apple, even if it tastes like wax.

It's not only the neonicotinoids. The scientists at Penn State found that the bees have 15 pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc. in their system. The synergy between all of them makes them a thousand times more toxic. Plus they feed bees high fructose corn syrup and it thrashes their immune system. It's AIDS for bees.

LB: Pesticides, genetically modified food, lack of diversity, can we fix our agriculture industry to save it?

MH: I'm of the mind that the system has to somehow collapse in order for new ideologies to sprout forth. We are seeing more sustainable communities, more farmer's markets. Big agriculture will continue, but it's about education. If 10 years from now we depend on China for our food supply, then we have put ourselves in a very awkward position so eventually the system will have to collapse. I hope it collapses because this is not sustainable. We need to go back to a world where nature presides over economics and not the other way around.

LB: When can we expect the film to be complete?

MH: We're aiming for an October release. Right now George and I have been putting in our own money. We're working with Tree Media, who produced the film The 11th Hour and they are helping us raise funds. Right now we're a non-profit and we are looking for donations. Every little bit helps and it's fully tax deductible!

VIDEO 1        VIDEO 2


January 28, 2008 - posted at


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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 5:27pm.