Over time I have become interested in many things that have been related to bees in one way or another, from sustainable agriculture to the societal structure of bees themselves. I started hearing about Colony Collapse Disorder, or the mass disappearance/death of entire hives of bees, in college. Many of my tree-hugging friends, bless their hearts, lamented the mysterious and currently-unexplained loss of bees as they tried to usher bees out of their classrooms, offices and kitchens without harming them.
Colony is a documentary that explores the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder on the many people who rely on bees for their own survival. From the beekeepers themselves to the farmers whose crops depend almost solely on honeybee pollination, many individuals are affected directly and immediately on Colony Collapse. Others, like you and I, will be affected more gradually and long-term, but there is no doubt that human survival depends on bees in a subtle and almost invisible way.
A fascinating element of this documentary are the parallels we can draw between the bee colony and those at work in agriculture and beekeeping. Bees work for the benefit of the hive during their entire life, with no focus on the individual. Bees that do not work toward the greater good are expelled from the hive. The Seppi family works much like the bee hive, focusing not on the success or happiness of the individual, but for the greater good of the family. Tensions rise as the Seppi family’s bees start to disappear and almond farmers who buy bee hives from the Seppis begin to financially take advantage of the family’s kind and religiously-influenced goodwill.
This documentary is not only a showcase of interesting individuals whose lives are affected by bees, but it is also a great way to learn about how we are all affected by Colony Collapse Disorder. It enlightens its audience to the possible causes of the phenomenon, and ways we can help stop it by demanding sustainable and safe agricultural practices.