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FEATURED STORY REPORT: Honeybees and America in Trouble With Pesticides


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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: May.29: 2023:

#AceNewsDesk – Prologue: In 2019, the cinematographer Peter Nelson made a documentary of the fate and plight of honeybees

A bee on a flowerDescription automatically generated
Honeybee. Photo: Evaggelos Vallianatos

The film starts with numerous semi-trucks carrying hundreds of hives for the pollination of almonds in California or fruits and vegetables and nuts in California and elsewhere in the country by

I was startled seeing these giant trucks loading and unloading hives like large square bricks. I could see a factory in action or a busy harbor loading and unloading goods.

But behind the lights and sounds and dust of trucks loaded with about 400 to 450 hives speeding in highways or unloading them on farmers’ land, there is an extremely important story. The Pollinators documentary does tell this dramatic story truthfully, effectively, and well. The story is about the trials of both honeybees and beekeepers — and the rest of us, whether or not we are protecting this extremely important insect, Apis mellifera, or we keep renewing the license of agribusiness to keep killing them. A review of the film insisted that, “The trials of the humble honeybee are magnified to epic proportions in the meticulous, magnificent documentary “The Pollinators.”

The story of the pollinators

A bee on a flowerDescription automatically generated
Honeybee. Photo: Evaggelos Vallianatos

Yes, the documentary was meticulous and honest. Beekeepers, some family farmers, and biologists spoke openly about the prevailing practice of moving hundreds of hives from all over the country to farms everywhere in the country with pollinating needs. These farmers are growing vegetables, nuts, and fruits and almonds. This includes the gigantic one-million acre almond plantation of California.

But was the documentary magnificent? Not really. The story is tragic, revealing some truths I learned during my 25-year service at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Indeed, I was so thunderstruck by the willful negligence of EPA senior political officials in granting approvals to chemical warfare-like neurotoxic pesticides / biocides, that I wrote a chapter on honeybees in my book, Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA.

The tragedy comes on stage in the almond fields of California. Almond trees demand huge amounts of water, which California does not have. The almond trees bloom in February – March. Two hives are necessary to pollinate one-acre almond grove. Thus, about 2 million hives must be under the almond trees to pollinate one-million acres of almond trees in California. A beekeeper in the documentary says, “The almond pollination[in California] is the biggest pollination event in the U.S. bee industry. It takes almost the entire national bee supply.”

Neurotoxic pesticides are killing honeybees

Honeybees are essential for pollination for several reasons. Native pollinators are on the verge of extinction. Pesticides of conventional farming have been wiping them out. The documentary is more diplomatic, saying: “The native pollinators are in deep trouble… because they can’t move away from agriculture… in certain places their populations have plummeted. One, the rusty patched bumble bee, was just listed as an endangered species and a lot has to do with agriculture and pesticide use, in particular.”

Honeybees are no less threatened by the dope drugs of the farmers, pesticides. I remember my ecological colleagues at EPA wring memo after memo to their supervisors telling them that neurotoxins don’t mix with honeybees. The stuff then came under the chemical names of organophosphates and carbamates, both siblings to WWI chemical warfare agents. Eventually, those neurotoxins were phased out, only to be replaced by equally deleterious neurotoxins known as neonicotinoids. The Clinton administration gifted to agribusiness these horrific chemicals. Large farmers embraced these lethal weapons. Needless to say, neonicotinoids remain the killers of choice for honeybees. The Pollinators documentary paints this painful picture of neonicotinoids:

“The neonicotinoids take years to degrade in the environment, and what that means is, you’re going to continue to poison the bees
for many years after you apply these pesticides. Neonicotinoids basically work by breaking down immune system, cause the insects to lose their memory, make them sick. Whether it’s the insect or it’s a human, you know, your immune system’s broke down, you don’t want to eat, and that’s exactly what we got going on inside these honeybee hives, and, eventually, you know, we’re going to somebody’s funeral.”

EPA in the Biden administration may be rethinking (or, most likely, playing politics) in “regulating” a festering and dangerous ecological and public health reality in America. What is at stake includes the survival of the priceless honeybees, healthy farming in the form of organic farming, and hundreds of endangered and threaten species. Its latest study of 3 neonicotinoids, dated May 5, 2023, raise the threat these chemicals pose to endangered species, though I don’t thing EPA is serious. Its study suggested that the danger from neonicotinoid (in large use since the 1990s) may be limited to a small number of endangered and threatened species. Besides, EPA described the danger as “adverse modification.” As if neurotoxic neonicotinoids would modify rather than kill a honeybee.

Why honeybees are important

A bee on a flowerDescription automatically generated
Honeybee. Photo: Evaggelos Vallianatos

Honeybees have been close to humans forever. The ancient Greeks even had a god, Aristaios, to protect them, along with cheesemaking, shepherding, and olive oil making. Honey and pollination have always been precious gifts of nature. Aristotle wrote about honeybees in his History of Animals.

The beekeepers of the documentary, The Pollinators, explained the importance of honeybees, zeroing on the pesticide enemies of bees:

“Bees are important for all kinds of reasons. They’re important because we’re not capable of making all kinds of thing grow by ourselves. It’s not some kind of magic, it’s a deep biological process, of which, bees are a part. But bees are also important to us because they’re a very good kind of sentinel signal for the trouble that we’re in. There they are every day, out in the world, foraging through every cornerof the rural landscape.

“It was shocking how much pesticide and the diversity of pesticides that we were finding — herbicides, fungicides, growth regulators, insecticides, all of them showed up in samples that we collected and looked at across the country…. Wax, it turns out, is almost like a fossil record. The wax combs that the bees live in, that they put their food in, that the brood is produced in, accumulates, and holds onto these pesticide contaminants, and so it’s very hard for a beekeeper who’s doing crop pollination to protect their bees from pesticides — very hard… pesticides seem to be playing a key role in the downturn of our bee populations…. Some of the stuff we’re using is a neurotoxin that’s gonna destroy our health and children and everything else, but we’re spraying it ’cause somebody has more say and more power than we do…. Populations of honeybees are dying at levels that are unprecedented and very concerning.

So, we have been seeing between 33% and close to half of the colonies in the U.S. dying every single year, which is disturbing…. We can learn a good deal from bees about the health of the landscapes that we inhabit. And sort of secondarily, we can learn a good deal about the folly of setting up our agriculture in quite the way that we have.It looked so efficient and concentrate everything in the ways that we’ve done it, but that turns out to be a false efficiency. It is the cheapest way to produce pork or corn or whatever else, but that cheapness comes at a high price, and that price is the loss of the agricultural diversity, redundancy, resiliency, that is really beyond price. You know it’s the thing that we’ve built up over 10,000 years of agriculture, and now in a kind of hundred years of industrialization, we’ve managed to get rid of most of it.”

Epilogue: This is valuable wisdom from people who protect honeybees and, indirectly, us who are so removed from both honeybees and nature. The Pollinators deserves to be seen by all Americans. The story of honeybees is our story.
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Story Teller

U.S GOOD NEWS STORY REPORT: After 13 Years Underwater, Lost Digital Camera Photos Reunited With Owner


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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Apr.21: 2023:

#AceNewsDesk – A Colorado fisherman spotted the camera sticking out of the mud along the the Animas River


The Olympus digital camera was covered in mud and broken after spending 13 years in Colorado’s Animas River, but Spencer Greiner was still able to pull photos off its memory card. Spencer Greiner

Mud-covered, broken digital camera on a wooden surface

On a warm summer day in 2010, Coral Amayi was floating down the Animas River near Durango, Colorado, when she hit a strong rapid and got tossed out of her inner tube. Though Amayi emerged from the water unscathed, she realized that her digital camera’s cord had snapped, sending the device—and all of the images on it—tumbling through the water.

She tried briefly to retrieve the Olympus digital camera, which had a memory card with photos from a friend’s bridal shower and wedding, plus snapshots of her dog, a friend’s first baby and a recent camping trip. With the water moving too quickly, she was forced to give up her search. Amayi was devastated, but ultimately ended up putting the incident behind her.

I figured I’d never see [the photos] again,” she tells the Washington Post’s Cathy Free.

Last month, 13 years after the incident, a Durango fisherman named Spencer Greiner spotted a digital camera sticking out of the mud along the banks of the Animas River. Battered and caked in dirt, the device had definitely seen better days, but Greiner’s curiosity got the best of him. When he got back home later that day, he carefully extracted the camera’s memory card, plugged it into a card reader and crossed his fingers.

What he saw on the screen astonished him: dozens of photos—some a little blurry but otherwise fine—showing smiling individuals, a dog, someone’s baby and other pleasant scenes. Would he be able to track down the camera’s owner? He knew he had to at least try.


On a private Durango Facebook group, he uploaded some of the photos with the message: “Did you get married on June 12th 2010 in the Durango area? Did you have an ugly brown stretch station wagon at your bachelorette party? Do you recognize any of these people? If so please contact me.”

Right away, members of the group began identifying the various people in the photos—and, eventually, tagged Amayi.

Amayi was at a work conference when she heard that Greiner had found her long-lost camera, and she was overjoyed by the news.When she heard Greiner had discovered her camera, Amayi was overjoyed at the news. Spencer Greiner

“I was just totally dumbfounded,” she tells the TV station KDVR’s Evan Kruegel. “And I got up and was like dancing in the bathroom, and I was like, ‘Who am I going to tell?! I need to tell this to somebody like right now.’”

Greiner sent her all of the photos he’d retrieved from the camera. Looking through the images brought back a flood of memories for Amayi, who now lives in Arizona and works as a sex educator. She teared up when she saw snapshots of her dog, Zona, who had recently died.

Next, Greiner plans to send Amayi the decaying digital camera. Eventually, he hopes they can meet in person to celebrate appropriately: by taking a photo together.

For his part, Greiner says he just did what he thought was right. As the father of a small child, he understands the sentimental value of photographs and hopes someone would do the same for him.

“I knew those pictures were sentimental to someone,” Grinder tells Today’s Chrissy Callahan. “Taking five minutes to make a Facebook post was the least I could do. It turns out that was all that was needed.”

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Story Teller

FEATURED STORY: Epiphany, an original piece from Werner Herzog on ‘ Cave of Forgotten Dreams ‘

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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Dec.16: 2022:

#AceNewsDesk – I was thirteen years old, and had just returned to Munich where I was born. But a carpet bombing, only two weeks after I was born, caused 7 of the Bavarian mountains.

She had found me in my cradle with a layer, about a foot thick, of glass shards, bricks and debris on top of me. But I was completely unhurt.

I grew up with my brothers near a mountain village, not knowing of the outside world. We had no running water, electricity only sporadically, and only an outhouse for a toilet. We did not have enough to eat, we were always hungry. I did not know of the existence of cinema and telephones. I made my first phone call at the age of seventeen. My mother would read books for us and for all the kids from neighboring farms where there were no books.

I was thirteen, now in the big city of Munich, still partially in ruins. I walked past a bookstore. I walked past, but something made me stop. I remember the moment vividly.

There was something in the display window of the store that I had spotted out of the corner of my eye. It was like lightning. I walked back, and saw a book on display that had a horse on its cover. It was a painting of a horse in black and ochre, galloping, as I had never seen a painting before. It was not really a painting of a horse, it was like the soul, the essence, the manifestation of the spirit of a horse. And to my deep astonishment I saw a caption that this was a painting from a paleolithic cave in France created some 15,000 years back in time. It was from the cave of Lascaux. This was, in a way, my epiphany. I needed this book, but it was expensive, way over my allowance of 25 cents my mother gave me each week. I kept my discovery a secret, but that very day I started to earn money, furiously, silently, as a ball boy on a tennis court.

Every so often, I would sneak by the bookstore to see if the book was still there. I had a deep, gnawing fear inside that somebody else would buy the book, and it would be gone.

I did not sleep well at night. After two months I had the money together, and the book was still there. I bought it, and the shiver that went through me when I opened it, I still feel to this day. It was like the awakening of my soul.

Decades later, the Chauvet Cave was discovered, with pristine paintings preserved in it like in a time capsule…………….The paintings were twice as old as the paintings of Lascaux, dating back over 30,000 years.

Because of too many visitors to Lascaux who exuded humidity from their bodies, the paintings there had deteriorated. Mold had started to eat them away, and therefore Lascaux was shut down, and Chauvet was categorically off limits to any intruder, except a handful of scientists. But there was a rumor a film crew would be allowed in for a very short period of time, and under the severest of restrictions. I immediately competed.

The French – when it comes to their patrimony – are extremely territorial. Only French scientists worked in the cave, and it was quite clear only a French filmmaker would get the official assignment.

I hustled to get a meeting with the French minister of culture, Frederic Mitterand, a nephew of the former president. He was one of the hurdles to be overcome for the permit to shoot the film, as well as the council of scientists and the local government of the region. He had seen a good number of my films that had deeply impressed him, and he was apologetic that as a foreigner my chances were slim. Yes, he would like to tell me I was competent to make the film, but there were also a number of French… I interrupted him rudely in my growing desperation. I said I had competence for some deeper reasons. What do you mean, Mitterand asked? I told him the story of my epiphany as an adolescent. Before I had finished he leaned with his whole body across his desk and took my hand.

” You are the one who will make the film,” I said thank you. And I said the film will have the title CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS.

-Werner Herzog, Director of Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Watch now

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