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There is a mixed sense of tense admiration and warranted fear when it comes to the use of robotics. We realise, and in some cases, reluctantly accept that we are moving into a world where automated robots will perform tasks within our societies. The vast majority of countries function on capitalised growth and this growth is seen as infinite. But how can we have infinite growth on a finite planet? The result of this forced approach is the suffering of our planet and it’s natural species (including humans). What is astonishing is that some of our institutions do not seem to be addressing the cause of these issues but rather work on offering, sometimes avoidable, solutions. Even if these solutions do not come into fruition, they are injected into the mind of the population so subconsciously we believe the solution is exactly what it says ‘A solution’. When in reality it is not. One such example is the recent news of research into robotic pollination with the use of small drones.
Drones in theory sounds like a plausible approach. However, bearing in mind that a healthy colony of bees can number approximately 65,000 and you need a great number of hives to pollinate the kilometers of orchards and fields. In addition, each tree can produce about 50,000 flowers. The amount of drones needed would be staggering not forgetting the amount of resources needed to run them. What astonishes us is that this idea is actually being put forward in the headlines as a viable solution and that valuable, no doubt funded, resources are being used on research. This will also create another huge industry profiteering of the demise of natural resource.
Some articles have suggested that this idea is indeed not realistic and as an alternative they are researching ways to spray crops with pollen from the air via machines. Even if spraying crops from the air sounds more credible, how would the pollen be collected? The honeybee delicately approaches the flower and is careful not to place it’s full weight on the flower in order to damage it as if it knows the importance of the survival of the flower. In addition, there is an electrical communication between the bee and the plant that naturally results in pollen sticking to the bees fur. This process will be almost impossible to replicate as it is so delicate.
Other research is looking into genetically modifying crops and plants to cross pollinate rather than rely on pollinators. We all know the problems with genetically modifying nature and the unknown issues this can cause.
For us the answer is quite simple. You can never truly replace the natural function of pollinators. Even if technology advances in such a way to replicate it, it will miss the vital ingredient that is needed...life! There is a special place for life in this process. If life is removed, the consequences would be vast. No matter what robots or AI are invented, it can never truly represent what life can offer. The design of the honeybee is perfect in it’s function, execution and results and most of all the footprint on this planet is nothing but beneficial. Life itself has it’s own electrical charge that is in tune with this planet of ours. All species are intrinsically connected to this living earth and this connection is through life. There is already an imbalance due to over consuming the world's resources and our consciousness does contain a moral obligation to address this. But if we remove life and this consciousness from the equation, we are left with no moral obligation.
We must use all resources to address why the bees are in decline. The monster corporations out there should be taken to task and demanded to adopt more ethical approaches and we must do our part individually but collectively by example of the bee. If the bee was to consider itself and it’s small contribution, it would surely give up. However, collectively this small contribution becomes vast and the macrocosm represents the microcosm. By which we mean, from the quarter of a teaspoon of honey produced by the bee, to the jar that sits in your kitchen, to the pollination of almost every fruit and vegetable you eat and to the cotton clothes you wear. It is not acceptable that we should be offered incredible solutions and be duped by headlines. These headlines often work in the benefit of corporations in an attempt the reduce the pressure upon them. We should be wise to this and not accept it.
The honeybee is free, it costs nothing. It performs it’s task free of charge and with perfection. Trees, flowers and crops are free and cost nothing, They only need to be placed in the earth with no borders. Food is free, we only pay for the service of providing it. All we need to do is ensure that things are natural, and this too costs nothing. The problem is created, the reaction is predicted and the solution is offered. But the solutions offered removes life. The very thing we all cherish and the greatest thing that is free.
The honeybee represents gratitude for the smallest of things. It is a signpost of life, life pointing to our sustenance. Remove life from our sustenance, then we become the robots.