Lessons from the Bee Hive

Several times a week Quest host’s talks about different interesting topics and all students and staff are encouraged to attend. A quick glance through the Quest Portal highlights several intriguing discussions during the next month. We will have Anjali Appadurai talking about climate change and social justice, Alejandro Frid discussing ideas at the interface of conservation science and social justice arising from his work with First Nations of the Central Coast of British Columbia, and Dr. I-Chant Chiang talking about about the implications of groupthink.

Mark introducing his book.

Quest University Canada hosted a talk by Mark Winston about his new book Lessons from the Bee Hive. Winston is a distinguished Canadian educator, famous for being a scientist but also for connecting it with art such as rhetoric or drama. He has written six books, among them are The Biology of the Honey Bee, Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas, and From Where I Sit. Winston studies reveal that bees can tell us amazing things about human behavior, environmental degradation, and the negative impacts of monoculture and over industrialization.

Mark at the end of the speech after getting a Quest cap and some lovely honey.

His books show that the number of bees is decreasing because most bees are kept in monocultures. Bee colonies are transferred to monocultures of Canola plants, meaning that is all they can eat. Imagine if all you could eat was carrots…Not so great right? In addition, similar to humans bees suffer from pests and diseases. Because the honey industry is trying to make more profit, they use high number of pesticides leading pests to create a resistance and eventually we will not have pesticides to combat pests, leading to a bigger decrease in the bee population.

Winston’s work proves that if there were more unmanaged lands and less use of pesticides, the industry would have a greater profit. Therefore, this would be the right thing to do environmentally and economically. Because Quest students are always trying to find the perfect balance between environmental protection and economic development, all students that attended cherished this talk.

Cover of Bee Time – Lessons From The Hive. Retrieved from: http://winstonhive.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/cover-Bee-Time.jpg

Winston’s book has gotten amazing reviews and it is a worthwhile reading for anyone interested in this scientific area or excellent and beautiful writing. The New Scientist magazine said:  “A charming and poetic account, Winston writes lovingly of the rhythms and quiddities of the apiary, stepping between reportage, scientific exactitude and a deep, poetically expressed love of bees, beekeeping and the cultural forms that bees inspire . . . An insightful delight,” on 21 October 2014.

Talks like this happen multiple times a week at Quest. They can come from students who had incredible experiences, tutors who want to share their passion, people from the Squamish community, and amazing visitors.

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