Your Garden Show heads over to see what the buzz is about|
Article and photos by Kate Hoppe, published on May 27, 2011
Having recently launched our Citizen Science platform and entered into a partnership with The Great Sunflower Project to count bees across North America, YourGardenShow has been keenly interested in what others are doing to help save our bees. When we heard of "Vanishing of the Bees," a documentary that reveals the plight of our nectar-loving pollinators, YourGardenShow headed over to the L.A. premiere to see what all the buzz was about.
Walking up to the Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Hollywood, a hundred or more people were gathered around outside tasting local honey and local wine. A young couple sold beeswax candles, that they hand pour into antique bottle forms in their 1975 Winnebago. CSA California talked about their farms and the creation of a bee sanctuary at a private school to teach children about bees. At 8:00 pm, we formed a line and entered the theater, awaiting the introduction of the film by actress Ellen Page ("Inception" and "Juno") who also narrates it. During a Q&A with the directors George Langworthy and Maryam Henein, we got the inside scoop on Ellen Page's participation in the film and the bee that "gave up her life for it."
Henein told the story this way. "Initially we contacted Scarlett Johansson...who actually has [bee] hives. We also approached Maggie Gyllenhaal who was interested in doing the narration. At the same time, I was praying to the bees. My friend Peter went to see [the film] and asked for a copy... He wanted to show it to a friend and he didn't tell me that his friend is Leonardo DiCaprio." At the time, "they were on the set of "Inception" and someone killed a honey bee... Ellen got really pissed off and gave him some schooling and told him, you shouldn't be killing honey bees. She watched [the movie] and she cried." The directors had found their narrator.
The film itself dives deeply into colony collapse disorder, how it's affected bee keepers and what it could mean for our love of fruits and veggies. "Vanishing of the Bees" touches on research being done into the potential causes of CCD, not the least of which are systemic pesticides, which have been outlawed in France and other European countries. After the banning of these pesticides in France, the bee populations bounced back within a year. The documentary also portrays the plight of queen bees that are artificially inseminated for commercial bee operations. Queen bees typically live between two and five years, but those that are bred commercially are frequently killed after a few months, to be replaced with a new queen bee attached to the hive in a cage until the worker bees get use to her scent.
As harrowing as some of the tales may be, we left inspired to take action. The directors of the film are currently working on a 30 minute educational version for school classrooms and building a curriculum with education experts that will get youth excited about helping to save our bees. If you'd like to donate to the cause, you can visit: http://www.vanishingbees.com/donate/.
For upcoming screenings of "Vanishing of the Bees" near you, visit: http://www.vanishingbees.com/events/.
We can each do our part to help the bees by not using pesticides on our gardens or lawns, planting bee friendly plants and counting bees as Citizen Scientists. In fact, there are already over 100,000 individuals across North America taking part in the great bee count. To find out how you can become a Citizen Scientist, go here.