[NAFEX] honeybees and Einstein

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Wed Apr 18 02:24:48 EDT 2007

The quote is not in "The New Quotable Einstein."  The earliest reference I
can find is a 1994 citation in a pamphlet from the National Union of French
Apiculture.  I know of two legitimate Einstein written references to bees,
but neither is close to this one.  I have yet to find - and I've looked -
any version of the quote with any attribution other than "Albert Einstein" -
no citation of any more specific source.  


~ Stephen



From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of road's end farm
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 8:14 PM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] honeybees and Einstein


On Apr 17, 2007, at 1:43 PM, Brungardt, Sam [quoted someone else as saying]:

Albert Einstein -- if not a bee expert, a relatively smart guy -- once said
that in the absence of the busy crop pollinators, humans "would have only
four years of life left."  

This particular quote has shown up a lot in bee loss discussions.

If Einstein actually said this, could somebody tell me where, when, and/or
to whom he did so?

Even if he did say it, this was hardly his field.

If we lost the bees, there would certainly be major agricultural and other
ecological disruptions. There would certainly be major disruptions in food
supplies for humans. I don't want to minimize the importance of honeybees.
However, there are lots of plants, including plants which are eaten by
humans and plants eaten by animals which are then eaten by humans, which are
not dependent on bees for pollination; and many plants ordinarily pollinated
by honeybees are also pollinated by other insects, though not always as
efficiently. We might well lose some population; but it's not likely that
the disappearance of honeybees would wipe out the entire human species. 

Exaggerating a problem doesn't always make people take you more seriously.
Sometimes it makes them quit listening altogether; which would be a shame,
in this case, as there obviously is a real problem, whatever's causing it.

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly

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