Gallery: Why the Bees are Dying: An Ancient Solution to a Modern Proble...


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I’m seeing news of bees’ demise everywhere. Most recently in Whole Foods’ visionary photo of its half-empty produce section in a world without bees. It brought to mind the frightening prophecy (though falsely attributed to Einstein and perhaps questionable) that mankind would have only four years to live if bees disappeared from the face of the earth. It also brought to mind a question I grappled with during my days as a grad student in the Classics at Columbia. It concerns a scene in Virgil’s Georgics (4. 281 – 558), where the beekeeper, Aristaeus, suddenly loses all of his bees through sickness and hunger. What relevance does this classic fable have today, you ask? Keep reading to more about the significance of Aristaeus’ story, and how his actions could help guide us in our own bee crisis today.

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