Letters to EcoNews | August 2023

Honey Bees

Dear EcoNews,

Although Elena Bilheimer didn’t explicitly say so, it’s clear that the bees featured in her article on Ts’ De Noni in the June issue are European honey bees.  These bees were brought to North America from Europe in the 1600s, primarily for honey and wax.  In addition to pollinating many of our crops, they compete with, displace, and spread diseases to many of the 4,000 or so native North American bee species and spread noxious weeds.  They are poor pollinators of native plants and not really very efficient pollinators at all since they are primarily pollen thieves.  They may play a vital role in our economic system and food supply, but to claim that they play a vital role in nature (in North America) is absurd and akin to saying that pets and livestock play vital roles in nature.  In fact, the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act defines livestock as “all living animals cultivated, grown, or raised for commercial purposes,” including insects, so honey bees actually ARE livestock.  Let’s not lose sight of that. 

What we really need are more projects focused on the conservation of native bees, and that may well entail local control and even removal of honey bees.

– Ken Burton, McKinleyville

Productive Sabotage

Dear Econews,

“Until the end of last Ice Age, around 11,000 B.C., all peoples on all continents were still hunter-gatherers (Diamond, 1999).”  

Around 11,000 years before the birth of Christ, a small group of people who hunted and gathered, converted over to the use of irrigated agriculture and domesticated animals as their primary sources of food.

“Once people began to produce food and become sedentary, they could shorten the birth spacing and produce still more people, requiring still more food (Diamond, 1999).” This increase in humans resulted in even more people and has eventually led to the overpopulation of the world.  

“Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the image of an organic cosmos with a living female earth at its center gave way to a mechanistic world view in which nature was reconstructed as dead and passive, to be dominated and controlled by humans (Merchant, 1980).” The emphasis on Earth as the nurturing Mother was pushed aside so that the planet could be exploited.

As air polluting machines were developed, people living traditional lifestyles were reorganized into social classes, drawn to cities for jobs and housing, and then led to believe that this is how life on Earth was meant to be.  So, we get up in the morning and go to work for most of our productive years while machines pollute the planet and will eventually kill our children’s families in future years.

We did not choose for this to happen.  This is not how life on Earth was meant to be.  It is our time now to recognize that we are all hunter-gatherer descendants, and that air polluting machines are killing our ability to live on planet Earth.  

Working together for living sustainably on Earth is our long-term goal.  Please have reverence for this planet we call home.

– Bob Rohde


  • Diamond, Jared, 1999. Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York.
  • Merchant, Carolyn, 1980. The Death of Nature, Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution. Published by Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53 rd Street, New York, New York.