Liam felt isolated in his belief that Regulations to support the restoration of biodiversity and halting and reversing man made climate change were making life unbearable. He could not understand why others, in his family for example, didn’t voice their feelings on the matter as strongly as he.
There was no attempt to hide the strength of his belief that living in a highly regulated world deprived him of liberty. There was a flaw in his logic but he could not or would not see it. He believed that The Powers had a duty to regulate against carcinogens in his food. Regulations to ensure vehicle safety didn’t trouble him. The need for these controls was self evident to him and yet, securing the future of the planet’s ecosystems, Liam believed was someone else’s problem, and sacrifices should be made by others, not by him.
It was his loss of freedom and choice that made him unhappy and brought his mood down into a dark place. Every new announcement of proposed further regulation left him troubled and sleepless. He felt alone and lost, unable to make sense of the way life had changed since he was a child. The pace of introduction of new restrictions left him feeling tired and alone in his view of what he saw as a very restricted life. For Liam there was no upside, none so far as he could see. Things could only get more restricted and for him, unbearable. He constantly objected but now in a weak and lethargic voice. His energy was gone. In these days of rolling surveys and votes for all over 16 and local forums for those aged 11 to 16 he felt marginalised. His felt that his opinions were being overwhelmed by the voices of the young. His views counted for little.
The Listeners listened. His wife and daughter listened. The Listeners said nothing. Amelia and Beth looked at each other and said it all with their eyes.
In her distance learning classes Beth studied the World View Equal Nature (WOVEN) philosophy of humans in nature not above nature. She debated the issues and policies with her fellow students both nationally and internationally. Like all thinking teenagers she disliked being told what was good for her but the philosophy, intended to restore biodiversity and reverse climate change made sense to her and she accepted it. She had become a whole hearted advocate.
Amelia continued with her bee-nurturing training and worked towards her Masters in Bee-Nurturing qualification. Her training included observational work employing remote wireless camera and sensor technologies. To widen the value of the qualification to the individual and increase the body of knowledge about all bees and increasingly other pollinators too, each candidate for the Masters in Bee-Nurturing had to undertake project work in addition to the standard syllabus and examined material. Remote monitoring technology had become a major and still growing industry. The wide and general application of these technologies across many fields of nature and environmental study and management had lead to many of the regulations that Liam disliked.
Amelia was telling Liam about the subject of her project work, a solitary bee species known as The Communal Mining Bee Andrena carantonica (= scotica). This mostly black bee, the female about the size of a honey bee worker produces and provisions its young with pollen and nectar in an underground chamber adjacent to similar chambers with the young of others of its species, hence the term communal in its name. She tried to interest Liam by explaing that the species is common and widespread. It is in flight from March to July. It forages on dandelion, hawthorne and fruit blossom.
As Liam heard his wife talking enthusiastically about a black bee living in an underground community and feeding on dandelions he was off. “That sounds just like my black, dull and isolated existence”. He was apathetic towards Amelia’s determined efforts to support bees and pollinators. He saw no future so why worry about a few black bees living underground. He saw no future in constantly worrying about the natural world if the price of that concern was to be a respect for all other living things, for biodiversity, for biomes, for landscapes, and for the oceans, everything but what Liam had long felt was human superiority and entitlement.
His whole persona had become grey, his moods grim, and his confidence in the possibility of a future life as he remembered it, gone.
He felt lost and tired. What was to be done? What could he do? What could anyone do? Did anyone care anyway?
To be continued.....