Invisible Seen: Thank the Next Bee You See

Students in Ali Stewart-Ito’s Honors American Literature class were asked to create a graphic vignette that makes visible someone, something, or some intangible concept that has been “disappeared,” or is otherwise “invisible.” Accompanying the graphic, students wrote statements of intent explaining what they tried to make visible, why they chose that topic, and how their image brings the subject matter to light. To make the students’ topics even more visible and to bring the topics more attention, the Cardinal is publishing a few of the impressive final products.

In this piece I chose to make the importance of bees visible. Since 2006 beekeepers have noticed a drastic declination in bee populations. Researchers have been working to come up with an accurate explanation of the dearth of bees, but have not yet produced many widely accepted theories. Though this mysterious decrease in population is a large factor, the bumblebee isn’t just threatened by natural causes—it is threatened by human perception. As animals that have the ability to sting humans, bees are often demonized, abhorred, and viewed as misanthropic pests. Because of this notorious reputation, humans are constantly trying to decimate bumblebee populations—whether it is with the use of a bee trap or drowning a hive in soapy water—when the ironic truth is that life without bees would be horrifying. Albert Einstein once famously said, “Mankind will not survive the honeybees disappearance for more than five years”, implying that the ramifications of the extinction of bees would be ghastly. Being the only insect that produces food eaten by man, it is even said that the bumblebee may have played a large role in human development on earth. As a species that has the ability to kill off bees it is important for humans to recognize the gravity of the role that bees play in the ecosystem. The importance of bees has been brought to life in my piece in many ways. I decided that the best way to inform humans about a certain matter is by spelling out the way in which that matter affects them. Instead of just pointing out that extinction of bees is bad, I chose to point out why extinction of bees is bad for humans, bringing light to the fact that their endangerment is ignored.