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Author Topic: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid  (Read 2665 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2013, 10:33:06 AM »

The issue of whether or not Honey Bees are native has been discussed since the first colonists.  In the American Bee Journal June 1923 (Vol 63 No 6) it was still being discussed and no new evidence that I know of has been presented since.  I would say we did not know then and we still don't know.

But if you are interested:

American Bee Journal June 1923 (Vol 63 No 6)

starting on page 299

IS THE HONEYBEE NATIVE OF AMERICA?

A Discourse Intended to Commemorate the Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

By Jeremy Belknap.

Delivered at the request of the Historical Society of Massachusetts on the 23rd of October, 1792

Dissertation No. 3, on the question whether the honeybee is a native of America.

Mr. Jefferson, in his notes on Virginia, has said that “The honeybee is not a native of our continent. The Indians concur with us in the tradition that it was brought from Europe, but when and by whom we know not. The bees have generally extended themselves into the country, a little in advance of the white settlers. The Indians called them the white man’s fly; and consider their approach as indicating the approach of the settlement of the whites.” He allows that “in Brazil there is a species of honeybee without a sting, but that is very different from the one we have, which perfectly resembles that of Europe.” The facts adduced by the respectable author are true; but they will not warrant his conclusion that “the honeybee, meaning the one resembling that of Europe, is not a native of our continent.”

There is one circumstance in the history of Columbus which proves that bees were known in the islands of the West Indies, at the time of his discovery. When on his first return to Europe he was in danger of perishing at sea, he wrote an account of his discovery on parchment, which he inclosed in a cake of wax, and put into a tight cask, committing the whole to the sea, in hope of it’s being driven on shore or taken up. This was procured in the island of Hispaniola, which he had visited, and it was one of the first fruits of his discovery.

The indefatigable Purchas gives us an account of the revenues of the Empire of Mexico, before the arrival of the Spaniards, as described in its annals; which were pictures drawn on cotton cloth. Among other articles he exhibits the figures of covered pots with two handles, which are said to be pots of “bees’ honey.” Of these pots, two hundred are depicted in one tribute-roll, and one hundred in several others.

This account is confirmed by the late history of Mexico, written by the Abbe Clavigero, a native of Vera Cruz who from a residence of thirty-six years in Mexico, and a minute inquiry into the natural history and antiquities of his country must be supposed to be well informed, and competent to give a just account. He tells us that a part of every useful production of nature or art was paid in tribute to the kings of Mexico, and among other articles of revenue he reckons “600 cups of honey” paid annually by the inhabitants of the southern part of the empire. He also says, “that though they extracted a great quantity of wax from the honeycomb, they either did not know how or were not at pains to make lights of it.”

In his enumeration of the insects of Mexico, he reckons six different kinds of bees which make honey, four of which have no stings, and one of the other two which have stings, one “agrees with the common bee of Europe, not only in size, shape and color, but also disposition and manners, and in qualities of its honey and wax.”

In the account given by Purchas, of the travels of Ferdinado de Soto, in Florida, it is observed that when he came to Chiaha, which by the description was one of the upper branches of the Mobile (now in the State of Georgia) he found among the provisions of the natives “a pot full of honey of bees.” This was A.D. 1540, when there were no Europeans settled on the continent of America, but in Mexico and Peru.

From these authorities it is evident that honeybees were known in Mexico and the islands, before the arrival of the Europeans; and that they had extended as far northward as Florida, a country so denominated from the numberless flowers, which grow there in the wild luxuriance and afford a plenty of food for this useful tribe of insects. The inference is, that bees were not imported by the Spaniards; for however fond they might be of honey as an article of food, or of wax to make tapers for common use, or for the illumination of their churches, yet as bees were known to be in the country there could be no need of importing them. The report of honey and wax being found in the islands, in Mexico, and in Florida, had reached Europe and had been published there long before any emigrations were made to the northward; therefore, if these had been considered as articles of subsistence or of commerce, the sanguine spirit of the first adventurers would have rather led them to think of finding them in America, than of transporting bees from Europe to make them.

As to the circumstance of the bees “extending themselves a little in advance of white settlers,” it cannot be considered as a conclusive argument in favor or their having been first brought from Europe. It is well known that where land is cultivated bees find a greater plenty of food than in the forest. The blossoms of fruit trees, of grasses and grain, particularly clover and buckwheat, afford them a rich and plentiful repast, and they are seen in vast numbers in our fields and orchards at the season of those blossoms. They therefore delight in the neighborhood of “the white settlers”, and are able to increase in numbers, as well as to augment their quantity of stores, by availing themselves of the labors of man. May it not be from this circumstance that the Indians have given them the name of “the white man’s fly”; and that they “consider their approach (or frequent appearance) as indicating the approach of the settlement of the whites?”

The first European settlement in Virginia was made about seventy years after the expedition of De Soto, in Florida, and the first settlement in New England was ten years posterior to that of Virginia. The large intermediate country was uncultivated for a long time afterward. The southern bees, therefore, could have no inducement to extend themselves very far into the northward for many years after the settlements were begun, and within that time bees were imported from Europe.

That honey and wax were not known to the Indians of New England is evident from this, that they had no words in their language for them. When Mr. Eliot translated the Bible into the Indian language, wherever these terms occurred he used the English words, though sometimes with Indian termination.

Joffelyn, who visited New England first in 1638, and afterward in 1663, and wrote an account of his voyage with some sketches of natural history in 1673, speaks of the honeybee in these words: “the honeybees are carried over by the English, and thrive there exceedingly.”

There is a tradition in New England that the person who first brought a hive of bees into the country was rewarded with a grant of land; but the person’s name, or the place where the land lay or by whom the grant was made, I have not been able to learn.

It appears then that the honeybee is a native of America, and that its productions were found by the first European visitors as far northward as Florida and Georgia. It is also true that bees were imported from Europe into New England, and probably into Virginia; but whether if this importation had not taken place, the bees of the southern parts would not have extended themselves northerly, or whether those which we now have are not a mixture of native and imported bees, cannot be determined. It is however certain that they have multiplied exceedingly, and that they are frequently found in New England, in a wild state, in the trunks of hollow trees, as far northward as cultivation and settlements have extended, which is nearly to the 45th degree of latitude.

I have made an inquiry of several persons from Canada, but have not learned that bees were known during their residence in that country. It is, however, not improbable that as cultivation extends, the bees may find their way to the northward of the lakes and rivers of Canada, even though none should be transported thither by the inhabitants.

Still American Bee Journal June 1923 (Vol 63 No 6)

page 301

EXCERPT FROM THE HISTORY OF MEXICO

By Abbe D. Francesco Saverio Clavigero (1731-1787)

Translated from the original Italian in 1806 by Chas Cullen, Esq.

Excerpt from Book 1, of Volume 1.

There are at least six different kinds of bees. The first is the same as the common bee of Europe, with which it agrees, not only in size, shape and color, but also in its disposition and manners, and in the qualities of its honey and wax.

The second species which differs from the first only in having no sting, is the bee of Yucatan and Chiapa, which makes the fine, clear honey of Estabentun, of an aromatic flavor, superior to that of all other kinds of honey with which we are acquainted. The honey is taken from them six times a year, that is once in every other month; but the best is that which is got in November, being made from a white flower like Jessamine, which blooms in September, called in that country Estabentun, from which the honey has derived its name. The honey of Estabentun is in high estimation with the English and French, who touch at the ports of Yucatan; and I have known the French of Buarico to buy it sometimes for the purpose of sending it as a present to the king.

The third species resembles in its form, the winged ants, but is smaller than the common bee, and without a sting. This insect, which is peculiar to warm and temperate climates, forms nests, in size and shape resembling sugar loaves, and even sometimes greatly exceeding these in size, from trees, and particularly from the oak. The populousness of these hives is much greater than those of the common bee. The nymphs of this bee, which are eatable, are white and round, like a pearl. The honey is of a grayish color, but of a fine flavor.

The fourth species is a yellow bee, smaller than the common one, but like it, furnished with a sting. Its honey is not equal to those already mentioned.

The fifth is a small bee furnished with a sting which constructs its hives of an orbicular form. In subterranean cavities; and the honey is sour and somewhat bitter.

The Tlalpiprolli, which is the sixth species, is black and yellow of the size of the common bee, but has no sting.

Wasp
The Xicotli or Xicote, is a thick black wasp, with a yellow belly, which makes a very sweet honey, in holes made by it in walls. It is provided with a strong sting, which gives a very painful wound. The cuicalmiahautl has likewise a sting, but whether it makes honey or not, we do not know.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2013, 11:10:31 AM »

interesting read, tyvm Mr. Bush!!!   Makes me want to look further.

   I have read a few posts in different forums about honey bees NOT being native to the Americas..   I often have to wonder what difference it makes? How many of us ARE native to the Americas?
   My wife has Native blood in her background. I do not. My GREAT grandfather came over from Germany when he was six, and I vividly recall him telling of standing on the rail of the ship, and seeing the statue of liberty materializing out of the fog, sending goosebumps up his arms and back. (It in fact gave me goosebumps to hear him tell of it.) His son, my grandpa fought in WW2 AGAINST the Germans. Both of my grandfathers did in different theaters.
  On the other side of the family, I have Irish blood. That family crossed in the early eighteen hundreds and quickly lost track of who was married into the family. So... I am only assured of SOME Irish and German bloodlines, which.. In my humble opinion translates to the bees in a similar manner.
   I have said it before, and reiterate here...    I think it is a prerequisite that if your an American, you have to be a mutt Smiley   Bees have been on this continent longer than some of my own blood, so as far as I am concerned, they ARE American bees!

   When WE go to the doctor, about 80% of the time, we get pills tossed at us and sent home, and often feel that we were blown off. (And its getting worse, but thats another story) I feel, and see, that people are doing the same thing to bees with the treatments. While I do not consider that we let our sick people die so only the strong survive to produce a better stronger people, we do have it within our ability to select bees for this purpose. I think, in time, if enough concern is raised, that this will begin to happen more and more. In fact, I think that the bees will long outlive us, if we can help them adapt and overcome the problems they have, instead of throwing pills at them.
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« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2013, 12:14:00 PM »

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native americans lived here a long time with no honeybees and they didn't have the advantage of buying their protein at supermarkets. 
Native Americans did not plant 1,000s of acres of the same crop to feed the city dwellers with no means of feeding themselves.  They did not plant Almonds in one state, enough to supply 80% of the almonds consumed by the world. They planted diverse crops to feed their village and could also forage in the surrounding land.  Their village was not surrounded by fields planted with and growing nothing but corn and soybeans.  Skip the bees in the almonds next year and see if there are enough native pollinators to do the job.

Quote
migratory pollination in the case of almonds in particular exposes bees from all over the country to each other's diseases and pests (think native americans meet smallpox) in a very small area every year. 
constantly relocating bees is also stressful for them.  imagine if your house was ripped up and hauled thousands of miles on the back of a truck every few weeks while you and your family were trapped inside with no plumbing, running water, etc. 
Our own agricultural  practices (needed to feed our population) have made us dependent on migratory honey bees to pollinate these crops during the week or two when pollination is needed.  After that they need to be gone so spraying can begin. Those fruits and vegetables will have to be perfect for those city people, with no idea how that food makes it to the store (no one will buy an apple with a mark on it....yuck!).

We have made ourselves dependent on honey bees to do the pollination in our mono-agricultural practices.  I don't think the honey bees will all disappear or go extinct, but migratory beekeepers just might.  And that is when the trouble will begin.

Jim
     

pretty sure we can exist without almonds and i'd say most of what we actually eat doesn't depend on honeybees for pollination.  the thousands of acres of corn and soybeans certainly don't and i'm pretty sure most of our vegetables don't either.  our beef comes from grain fed cattle and most grain is wind pollinated.  we are far from dependent on honeybees for our food in this country.  those thousands of acres of corn in the midwest were thousands of acres of prairie that would have offered honeybees very little chance of crossing from east to west without a lot of help from man before we decided to cover it in corn.  if migratory beekeeping ended we wouldn't starve.  the almond growers would suffer and maybe some crops like melons and certain fruits would be set back but the bulk of the average american's diet would never know the difference.
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2013, 02:10:58 AM »

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pretty sure we can exist without almonds and i'd say most of what we actually eat doesn't depend on honeybees for pollination.  the thousands of acres of corn and soybeans certainly don't and i'm pretty sure most of our vegetables don't either.  our beef comes from grain fed cattle and most grain is wind pollinated.  we are far from dependent on honeybees for our food in this country.  those thousands of acres of corn in the midwest were thousands of acres of prairie that would have offered honeybees very little chance of crossing from east to west without a lot of help from man before we decided to cover it in corn.  if migratory beekeeping ended we wouldn't starve.  the almond growers would suffer and maybe some crops like melons and certain fruits would be set back but the bulk of the average american's diet would never know the difference.

Wow!  I had no idea I was sooooo wrong! 

Sorry to hear you do not enjoy eating fruits, nuts and vegetables.  I am sure those almond, peach, pear, cherry, apple, blueberry, melons(water, lopes, honeydews) pumpkins, squash and such growers can cut down their trees or plow in those crops and plant wheat and corn...at least that will keep them out of the unemployment lines.

Puffed Wheat and Corn Flakes .. for everyone...EVERYDAY.....YEAH!!!  I hear apple wood smoked corn flakes are excellent.
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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2013, 02:18:41 AM »

Not all people think alike.
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Ray
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2013, 07:36:45 AM »

No "two people" think alike  shocked  And Grandpa Jim isn't wrong  Smiley  This isn't a competition, is it?

Sure am glad we DON'T eat GMO corn (flakes) or GMO soybeans (tofu?), at least not store bought.  There are other choices. 

Our beef comes from up the road and is GRASS fed NOT grain fed.   

Our garden is over an acre in size, much of it visited by our own bees and other local pollinators.  We raise our own pigs and chickens most years or purchase them from our neighbors.   

Our wild meat comes in the form of locally caught fish, white tail deer, turkeys, partridge and increasingly, pheasant.  We have an orchard with several apple and cherry trees along with currents and blueberries.  Since we process much of our own food we limit trips to the town grocery to just 1 or 2 times a month. 

Ahhhh, Life IS GOOD!  And its even better with honeybees!  cool
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« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2013, 12:05:16 PM »

cast your line somewhere else, i'm not biting.  my point is that we won't starve without honeybees and there are a lot of pollinators other than honeybees that work fruits and vegetables.
t beek i was responding to the statement that city dwellers have diets that require honeybees.  most of the animals in this country that are slaughtered and packed are grain fed and a lot of grasses are wind pollinated as well.    
this isn't a competition but to say that americans would starve without migratory beekeepers just isn't true.  
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chux
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« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2013, 12:14:40 PM »

Don't commercial Beeks usually keep groups of hives pretty close together? They travel from place to place together? Let's say CCD takes 80 out of 100 hives that have been traveling together. Why didn't the other 20 fail? They were on the same ground, exposed to the same chemicals, diet, and travel stress as the others. Those hives were probably pretty similar in size. Same equipment. Most of the queens may have even come from the same apiary. Why did those 20 survive? What was different?

Has anyone seen research which tracked the hives that did survive in an area where CCD took out most of the other hives? We've had this blight for multiple years now. I would be interested in hearing whether those 20 hives that made it 2 years ago, made it through again this year while others failed.

One thing I know; A lack of bees will not be the end of the world. In Genesis 8:22, God promises that as long as the earth remains we will continue to have seed-time and harvest. (There will be people on earth at the end of time.) That doesn't mean the harvest won't be skimpy for some years to come. It could be that the cause of CCD, the perfect cocktail, whittles down the number of hives to 10% or 15%. Traveling hives will likely increase the speed of destruction. Increased meds will likely slow down the process. In the end, we will have a small number of more robust survivors who will slowly repopulate the world.

But what do I know?    

  
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« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2013, 06:04:28 PM »

cast your line somewhere else, i'm not biting.    

Are you saying that there's no fish in this hole??  lau
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« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2013, 06:44:08 PM »

Americans will starve without Safeway.  there could be a 10lb swarm hanging off the front of the building, but if the doors are locked, the people will die.   evil
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« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2013, 08:54:47 PM »

cast your line somewhere else, i'm not biting.    

Are you saying that there's no fish in this hole??  lau

yes ma'am the fish aren't biting over here.
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« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2013, 11:05:27 PM »

Americans will starve without Safeway.  there could be a 10lb swarm hanging off the front of the building, but if the doors are locked, the people will die.   evil

   LOL    lau
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« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2013, 02:12:01 AM »

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i was responding to the statement that city dwellers have diets that require honeybees.

Their "diet" is no different then others, but they do not have the ability (land, space) to provide food for themselves.  So someone (Farmers) have to grow as much as possible on the land they have to supply the additional food to feed them, not a problem that is what farmers do.

Without migratory beekeepers those large orchards will produce a much reduced amount of fruit (I think this is a proven fact).  Less fruits from the same space becomes higher prices to the consumer.  So we eat more grains...more demand for grains becomes higher prices for grains.  That eventually will also raise the price of your steak and gas since we turn corn into fuel now.  When the orchards cannot keep up with taxes, insurance and maintenance, because of the reduced yields, the trees will be turned into fire wood further reducing the supply of fruits.

Last year there was a freeze during the bloom in the main growing area for canning cherries.  There was just no crop, the canneries did not open.  By August the price of water packed cherries was through the roof.  By September there were none available.  Cherry pies came off the our menu....no one starved....but I would bet it was painful for the growers, packers and processors.  For those people that income is lost and cannot be made up ....lost sales, income and jobs.  Multiply that by all the fruits, nuts and vegetables that those 2 million migratory hives pollinate in one year and I think it could be very painful for a lot of people.  But hey.....at least no one starved!

You are right....No one is going to starve when the bees are gone , but we will be a lot poorer.  We will not starve, we will die fighting over that last apple (I guess that is how it all started.....over an apple...how fitting is that).
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« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2013, 01:50:28 AM »

Honestly?  I feel like my question still kinda stands.
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« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2013, 06:23:56 AM »

Your original questions had more to do with whether bees are dying, whether a cure has been found and if there will be enough food if the bees all die.

Yes, No and Yes.

As for the last one, whether there will be enough food without bees.  Right now there are food shortages all over the planet that have NOTHING to do with availability.  Lack of food in some parts of the world have more to do with (purposeful) "distribution" (and lack of) and too many Landlords speculating their holdings. 

Do we also want to know how those vast holdings were obtained?  That might take another posting Wink
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« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2013, 06:49:02 AM »

The post right before my last one makes some sense though.  I mean, I suppose if I had to, I could do corn and rice forever if all else failed.  But if it's what EVERYONE is doing...well that's another story.

But then, we are talking the assumption that ALL bees die.  So I guess my next question is how have you guys been able to keep going?  Math doesn't seem to add up.  If it's been a third or more since 2006, shouldn't the commercial bee hives dried up by now?
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« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2013, 07:17:27 AM »

Some of the BIG commercials have in fact, folded.  IMHO I can only say good riddance.  Most simply spread diseased bees IMO.  Treating insects like cattle was always a no win endeavor, at least long term.

Honeybees are very prolific.  Even "if" a third of them died each year, a healthy queen can lay around 2000 eggs per day when things are going well, allowing for a come back population every year. In other words, They can be replaced in overall numbers every year.  Whether they are healthy is the question.

If I ruled the world  grin I'd ban migratory beekeeping, exceptions to regional areas and uses.  But then again, I'd also ban our current methods of food production and distribution as well.

See what I mean?  This discussion can lead us far away from bees and beekeeping.

We've been growing/selling garlic and other alliums for many years so I suppose if bees all died we'd still have some flavor in our food.  So for those fearful of only having bland food in the future...GROW MORE GARLIC!  cool
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« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2013, 07:53:56 AM »

I honestly, until recently, never considered how bad all the migrating could be/is for bees.  And frankly any animals for that matter.  One of the reasons I don't like the circus or the rodeo.  I'm not hugely into animals and certainly not insects, but treating living things, even ones as pesky as bees, like packing peanuts is bad news.

Say, do bees pollinate pineapple?  Because unlike most people, I love pineapple on my pizza.
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« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2013, 09:56:42 AM »

     Here's something that I haven't yet heard get a mention.  Has no one in the world heard of the "boom and bust cycles" that are constantly present in almost everything...period?  I'll take you back to highschool biology....:  A high population of rabbits in an area can support greater densities of coyotes...as the coyotes grow and pressure increases, the area cannot support a lot of rabbits and they decline in population.  As the rabbits decline in population, the same area becomes less able to sustain a high number of coyotes.  Eventually, the coyotes' numbers lessen, and the rabbit population once again begins to increase.

     I know that that's a worn-out example, but you get the picture.  CCD, to me, is natural.  CCD=what happens when numbers become too high in an environment unable to support those numbers (and not meant to, either). 

     What I find interesting is that all this worry seems to be a hint at the fact that our (human) numbers are getting higher than we seem to be able to sustain at the rate we're going.  Food crises are the coyotes...we are the rabbits.  We are constantly, as a species, only patching problems that we create rather than figuring out how to stop causing the problems in the first place.  An ounce of prevention (i.e. better practices!)...

     That's my answer, Damien.  Boom and bust.  We're starting to bust.  Don't worry, though!  The patches are coming.
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« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2013, 11:29:53 AM »

The "Boom and Bust" example of rabbits and coyotes provides no apparent harm to life, unless your a rabbit or coyote  grin.

However the "Boom and Bust" cycles perpetuated by "human activity" are another matter.  What is currently happening to honeybees around the world is a result of OUR living in it and taking little responsibility for the damage we've done, whether purposely or by accident (?).

Economically speaking, the U.S has had such cycles since our founding, largely benefitting those already most fortunate in our society while harming those less fortunate, to include Humans, Land, critters, waterways and its inhabitants.

The exploitation of our planet by and for the benefit of the few will not end until its been used up or made unfit for consumption.  We simply aren't able to stop it, not yet anyway.  This all goes back to that permeating "denial" that affects us all and was mentioned early on this thread.

"To be a friend of the Earth you must be an enemy of the people."  TC Boyle
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