They work seven days a week. They travel up to five miles to and from hundreds of ‘workstations’ making up to 40 trips a day. These non-paid workers are responsible for providing one third of your food and they are completely oblivious to the millions of dollars of agricultural services they perform each year. Bees!
Yes, one third of the worlds food depends on BEES. If bees disappear, so will many of our fruit and vegetables, including: apples, avocados, cherries, cashews, coffee (get out!), broccoli, lemons, berries….and the list goes on.
As you may have heard from many sources by now, there has been a world-wide decline in the bee population the last few years. Since 2006 beekeepers in the USA, Europe, and Australia have been reporting that their honeybee populations have been dying off at increasingly rapid rates. In 2015 alone, the USA lost one third of its bee population! Australia and Europe are also experiencing similar losses. The decline is due to aggressive agricultural practices, use of pesticides, and climate change, as well as bee mites and diseases.
A recent report published by the UN has acknowledged that loss of pollinators is a threat to food supplies world-wide. It stressed the importance of protecting pollinators to ensure stable fruit and vegetable output as a key factor in feeding the world’s growing population in coming decades. While the USA, Europe, and Australia have, for years, been collecting local data on bee species, their numbers and health, there are many ‘data gaps’, in other countries, especially in Asia.
Natural Light Candle Company has begun a grassroots initiative to conduct research on honey bees in our area and to help save the bee population in South East Asia.
Here in Indonesia the bee population has been drastically effected by the practice of slash and burn agriculture. As a result, vast areas of the rain forest have been destroyed. The majority of Indonesia’s honey and bee-keeping activities are in the forest.
The fabled wild honey hunters of Borneo, Sumbawa, and many other islands have for decades and perhaps even hundreds of years lived in harmony with the forest. These farmers collect wild honey in a sustainable way and with no impact to the forest and it’s inhabitants. Orangutans, elephants, the rhino, the slow loris, and bees…are all native to these forests and are under serious threat.
Natural Light Candle Company Bee Initiative bees
Queen Bees for Sustainability is a new CSR initiative of Natural Light Candle Company. Ratu Lestari Alami is our Indonesian community name. Our headquarters are on the island of Bali.
Our Queen Bee mission at Natural Light Candle Company is to support sustainable beekeeping within Indonesia with a global view of world-wide honey bee decline and possible global food shortages. We collect data, conduct research, and offer support and assistance to beekeepers, honey collectors, and farmers living in bee populated areas across the archipelago.
Our goal is to help farmers in Indonesia, so that they can continue and grow their beekeeping activities in a sustainable and economical way that directly benefits their families, the farming community, and the honey and wax industry, as well as, having a positive impact on Indonesia’s natural environment and food resources.
We believe that long term sustainable and positive impact can only come from respect to nature and to local stakeholders with real and tangible economic and social benefits to all those involved.
We are currently working in Indonesia with initial focus on honey producing areas such as Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sumbawa, Flores, Timor, and Bali.
Calling all Bee Lovers!
While conducting this work we are open to sharing and working with local independent farmers, agricultural and environmental organisations, field experts, academia, national and international stakeholders as well as beekeeping and environmental enthusiasts. If you’d like to find out more about our work, offer your expertise, sponsor a beehive, or volunteer your time, please contact email@example.com
In our next blog, we’ll share our wild bee hunting adventures with you and show you what you can do in your own community to help save the bees.
Love IG? Check out our Instagram account @savethebees_bali
Global Research author Joachim Hagopian
The Fix author Tafline Laylin