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(Image of a honeybee on a satsuma orange blossom sent to me by reader wangdangdoodle.)

Writing on this blog, I get a lot of e-mail.  And when I say a lot, I really mean it — my gmail in-box has something like 7000 e-mails in it and counting at the moment.  Sometimes I get to it faster than others — this week, with the Gonzales liveblogging, I'm way behind, for example — but every once in a while I get an e-mail that just grabs me and I have to share it with everyone else.  The one that I got from wangdangdoodle was just that sort of e-mail.

…I had been concerned about the news lately of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), especially after hearing something on the radio last weekend that Einstein had said; that if the bees go, mankind had only about 4 years left. Scared the crap out of me!

I'm in (north)…Texas and there are no high-powered transmission lines in my 'hood (we have underground); no cel phone towers close by either. And being in town, we're not near big agriculture that may be growing GM food. We had gobs of bees on the Satsuma Mandarin Orange tree that is in the side yard. (Actually, it is not my tree, it's the neighbor's.)

So, I was wondering what some of the other Firepups may be experiencing this season regarding bees. And if they have any of the suspected contributing factors near them that may be affecting them.

Living in small town America, in a rural state with lots of trees and meadows and wildflower areas, I just have not noticed the same drop-off in honeybee population that a lot of folks around the country have been talking about in the threads lately. But, when you think about how dependent a lot of food crops are for pollination, substantial losses could cause an enormous difficulty for all of us. And then some. And when you start thinking about it beyond this one question to the broader implications that ripple out from there? Aiiyee.

The Boston Herald recently had a good article explaining some of the basics and its implications of the loss of honeybees for farmers — and those of us who consume the produce grown on those farms.  And it truly is startling the types and numbers of crops we are talking about — I mean, if you haven't actually spent time on your cousin's farm in the summer helping out, it would be startling.  For me, it was a very good reminder of how unconnected to the land I have become the last few years — and a much needed wake-up call.  For a much more comprehensive look at this issue, take a peek at this fantastic compendium from Celsias, but prepare to be amazed at the sheer magnitude of the issues involved.

On the recommendation of several readers, I recently picked up Francis Moore Lappe's book "Hope's Edge." It is subtitled "The Next Diet For A Small Planet," and I am looking forward to the read when I can set aside a bit of time. But I also know that I'll have a lot of accompanying guilt in the read — no matter how much I try to do well with environmental decisions, it never, ever seems like I'm doing well enough. 

And I saw an ad recently for an upcoming discussion on Frontline on the political ins and outs of environmental discussions inside the Beltway — and how much politics has played a role in skewering the science in this.  It is set to air on April 24th, and I'm intrigued, but not expecting any good answers from it — just a lot more questions that will need to be asked, I'm afraid.  But questions are, at least, a decent start.  And after watching the amazing Planet Earth series that Discovery Channel has been broadcasting, I'd say we should all be asking and answering a whole lot more questions.

I thought we could take a little time this morning to talk about what we are — or are not doing to make our world a better place. Big things, little things, recycling, reducing energy use or turning to alternative energy sources…nothing is too small or too big as a suggestion. But by talking about this together, I thought maybe some of us might get some great ideas from someone else — and vice versa.

We're all riding on this bright blue planet of ours together. I thought it was well past time that we started talking about how to keep living here with a little more care for the world around us. Let's talk about our environment, protecting it, and protecting our place in it…for the family of man and every other family that rides on our great blue orb as well. Pull up a chair…

PS — Bob Geiger has the Saturday Funnies up this morning.  I'm particularly fond of the first Nick Anderson one.  Mwee hee.

PPS — Bill Maher hits this issue as well at HuffPo.  (H/T to twolf1 for the link.)

PPPS — Just a reminder, today's Blue America guest will be Victoria Wulsin, who will be running against Mean Jean Schmidt again in the OH-2.  Please join us for a great conversation with Doc Wulsin at 2 pm ET/11 am PT.