In response to the continuing decline in the bee population globally, an interesting and timely film documentary by Markus Inhoof brings attention to the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder— the name given to this occurrence.  This film notes that 80% of plant species require bee pollination to survive, and without the necessary pollination, “most fruit and vegetables could disappear from the face of the earth”.  Additionally, the honeybee is “as indispensable to the economy as it is to man’s survival”. 

In this film, Inhoof takes a close look at honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia.  He examines several agents responsible for “weakening of the bees’ immune defense“, including pesticides and medicine used to combat them, parasites (notably Varro mites), new viruses, traveling stress and the “multiplication of electromagnetic waves disturbing nano particles found in bees’ abdomen.

A particularly interesting finding shown to negatively impact the lives of bees is “factory farming“.  Beekeeping for the production of honey, beeswax, royal jelly and other products has become very popular in the past few years.  Bee farmers rely on factory-farmed honeybees, resulting in an annual production of 176 million pounds of honey with a value greater than $250 million.  To accomplish this goal, honeybees are manipulated with exploitation of their “desire to live and protect their hives”.  They are subjected to unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation and stressful transportation“.  The white boxes traditionally used for beehives since the 1850s have been “moved from shapes that accommodated their own geometry to flat-topped tenements, thereby sentencing the bees to life in file cabinets.  Additionally, beekeepers also clip the wings of new queens to prevent the natural division of hives upon the birth of a new queen that would result in a decline in the honey production.

All of these factors stress the bee population and could serve as a threat to mankind’s very existence because of the need for these very important pollinators to remain in existence.   

To date, the documentary, More Than Honey, has received good reviews, particularly in regards to its beautiful nature photography.  This is just one story about human invasive practices that threaten our food supply, and it is a very important one that cautions us to remain ever mindful of our need to ensure that we protect our environment and our food supply.  To do so is to live green, be green.


honey bee, pollinating

honey bee, pollinating (Photo credit: turnbud)

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For this good news Monday, we here at LGBG are happy to report on a research project by Australian scientists that has been successful in its method to modify a protein in HIV so that it protects cells against infection as opposed to replicating the diseased cells.  This process potentially signals the cure for AIDS.

It is important to note that this treatment would not cure HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  As stated by Associate Professor David Harrich from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, “[w]hat we’ve actually done is taken a normal virus protein that the virus needs to grow, and we’ve changed this protein, so that instead of assisting the virus, it actually impedes virus replication and it does it quite strongly.”  The very presence of this protein in immune cells provides a defense for patients to fight normal infections, which often prove deadly to those with AIDS.  This cutting edge research is representative of a human gene research approach to treat diseases and disorders, as opposed to pharmaceutical therapies, which generally treat one protein or symptom.

To date, the tests on this procedure have been successful in the laboratory and now are expected to proceed to animal trials soon with early indications showing positive results.  The scientists involved in this research expect some hurdles to overcome in the process, but they are confident that the results will be positive.

The potential impact of successful treatment of AIDS through protein modification is monumental.  If this study is successful, it would mean that HIV patients possibly could undergo one treatment for their illness, thereby freeing them from multiple drug therapies, which in addition to being expensive, are physically burdensome and often carry their own serious side effects.  This new treatment would greatly improve the quality of life for HIV patients.  It is estimated by the World Health Organization that more than 34 million people are living with AIDS, and more than 1.8 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2010.

This research project,if successful, will truly be a game changer in the health of people all over the world, signaling a greater opportunity to live green, be green.

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English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solida...

English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS. Français : Le Ruban rouge, symbole de la solidarité avec les personnes séro-positives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)