Is Climate-Themed Fiction All Too Real? We Asked the Experts … – New York Times
China, 2098: Tao is up a tree, hand-pollinating its blossoms with a tiny brush. The bees are long since gone. Maja Lundeâ€™s first book, published in 2017, chronicles three generations as they exploit, try to save and eventually mimic bees, whose extinction has become a familiar device in climate-themed fiction.
â€œItâ€™s a crazy idea, and itâ€™s being done,â€ said Jeremy Kerr, a biodiversity researcher at the University of Ottawa, describing the hand-pollinators of Hanyuan County in Chinaâ€™s Sichuan Province.
Pollinators like bees (and birds, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, bats and mosquitoes) are crucial to the food chainÂ because they move pollen between fruit, vegetables and nuts.Â Plants that depend on pollination are 35 percent of global crop production.Â While Colony Collapse Disorder â€” previously believed to pose a major threat to all bees â€” has declined substantially in recent years, Dr. Kerr said it was conceivable that five or six â€œkeystoneâ€ species, which pollinate crops like canola, tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries, could be lost, in part because of global warming.
But hand-pollination? â€œThe question of whether you could do something like that on a planetary scale,â€ Dr. Kerr said, â€œHoly moly, if thatâ€™s where we got to, I think other things would probably kill us first.â€
Write a Reply or Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.