Do you care about bees? Photographic Artist Valentina Eade thinks everyone should. This is the reason why she decided to call her environmental exhibition Bee Cause I Care, which was officially inaugurated on September 11, 2014 by H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, and ran through the end of October.
As part of the efforts conducted by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, created in June 2006 by the Sovereign Prince to address the worrying threats hanging over our planet, and more particularly for the protection of biodiversity, the Foundation decided to support this exhibition which uses the powerful tool of images and designed to bring the public “face to face” with these essential creatures, and get to know and care about them.
The demise of the bees could signal that we are facing a “mass extinction,” something biologists fear may be upon us now. If these biologists are right, this would be the sixth mass extinction in world history, the last one being the dinosaurs, and mankind is the cause of it this time.
Pollination, whereby pollen grains are transferred in the reproduction and fertilization of plants, is an irreplaceable step in the reproduction of plants. Evolution has produced a symbiotic relationship between the pollinators in the animal world and the plant world. More than 85 percent of earth’s plant species — many of which compose some of the most nutritional parts of our diet — require pollinators to exist. They are critical components of our environment, and are essential to our food security. Many native pollinators, such as native bees, bats, birds, wasps and flies, currently face extinction due to habitat destruction, climate change, lack of biodiversity and the use of pesticides.
Excess mortality in bees, which has a variety of causes, currently has an impact on the pollination and production of fruit and vegetables on a global scale. Yet many scientific studies have shown that the great diversity of wild bees identified in city centers is proof that extremely urban environments with an appropriate management approach can be of interest in terms of ecology and conservation. Monaco is thus becoming a key location for the protection of this fauna and the preservation of the mutual relationship it has with both wild and cultivated flora. In 2011 it installed six hives in the heart of the Principality, and has signed a partnership agreement with UNAF (Union Nationale de l’Apiculture FranÃ§aise) aimed, inter alia, at creating this apiary.
In July 2013, hotels for pollinating insects were set up on Monaco’s rocher and in the neighboring towns at various altitudes. They consist of open-air equipment comprising eight micro-habitats which can be used by almost all the 864 species of wild bees present in France, mainly to house their eggs or for hibernation purposes. The exhibition by Valentina Eade is a perfect illustration of the joint work led by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Government to raise awareness at a national scale and protect the bee: a major species for human survival.