Monday, September 05, 2011

Queen of the Sun

Yesterday after church we went to see a newly released documentary called Queen of the Sun. It is an unusual, fascinating, disturbing look at the collapse of bee colonies in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world. We are reminded that roughly half of the food we take for granted would disappear without the pollination provided by bees. As serious as the subject matter sounds, the film was quite touching.

The day before while I was still at my conference I listened to one of the world's leading researchers on frogs, Dr. Tyrone Hayes from Berkeley University in California. I probably expected the least from this presentation but he was funny, engaging, and offered an ominous picture of the disappearance of frogs in North America. He made a link to the chemical Atrazine which is banned in the EU but is used in abundance --80 million pounds per year -- in agricultural in the US. It essentially causes male frogs to become female frogs or hermaphrodites. The day before the conference he drove up to Wyoming, the state to the north of Colorado, to check on a research site where there have been plentiful frogs. Gone. Dr. Hayes reminded us that frog hormonal structure is so similar to human that female frogs were once used to confirm human pregnancy. He spoke of the link between chemical use in agriculture and cancers such as breast and prostate.

Dr. Hayes and the film tell us that these creatures are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. We need to pay attention to what is happening to them for their sake and ours. He exhorted the participants of the conference and the Christian communities of which they are a part to wake up to what is happening and become more active in promoting local and organic agricultural as well as asking governments to impose stringent regulations on the chemicals which can affect the health of ecosystems.

Have you heard about Queen of the Sun? What are your thoughts on all this?


IanD said...

Interesting! Alarming, but interesting.

johnny said...

I would be very interested in seeing this film. I have heard about the slow demise of our bees, and there are several theories on why this is taking place.

The 80 million pounds of that chemical is startling. I just wish we could get further away from using chemicals on everything, and start focusing less on profits and more on our earth and its creatures.

Laurie said...

This film just played a 6 night run at the "Toronto Underground Cinema" It had it's Toronto opening there on August 3rd.It was a very interesting film. I was interested in that it drew in people from all walks of life.

lionlamb said...

Thanks to all three of you.

I don't think we have any idea of the extent to which our agricultural industry is dependent on chemicals.

I know that Queen of the Sun opens this later this week in Toronto.
Thanks Laurie for mentioning the earlier showings. I liked that it was a quirky and sometimes poetic approach to a tough subject.