Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bee Pee; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Looks at How Life on Earth May Meet Its End

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bee Pee; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Looks at How Life on Earth May Meet Its End

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Saatchi the naked eye

EINSTEIN believed that if bees disappeared from the face of the Earth, man would have only a few years to live: "No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

China learnt the cost of using pesticides in its orchards -- it has utterly destroyed the bee colonies across the giant Sichuan region. Crops are now pollinated by hand using feather brushes -- but not nearly as effectively or speedily as the bees were fulfilling this task.

In fact, across the world, a third of all farm produce relies on bee pollination.

Ever since mankind's earliest ancestors emerged and founded systems of belief, various apocalyptic scenarios have been used to bring populations to heel, and kept in fear of the gods. From hellfire and anguish, to demons walking the Earth, the end of days has never sounded very appealing.

Most religions visualise much of mankind's doom being brought about by divine intervention -- good news for the devout, bad news for the rest of us. However, the newest theories about the extinction of the human race place humanity firmly at the centre of its own demise.

Climate change enthusiasts cling gamely to the belief that our everincreasing output of carbon dioxide is reaching the tipping-point -- pinpointed as central to complete environmental disaster. Believers in the ensuing planetary chaos predict an "anoxic event", something that took place in the Jurassic and Palaeozoic times, when the seas become devoid of oxygen.

It is certainly the case that areas of ocean have appeared around the world in which there is not enough oxygen to support life. Anxious biologists fear this will inevitably lead to the widespread death of marine animals -- a food source for much of the globe.

Overpopulation stands as one of the most worrying extinction theories. …

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