It’s startling at first glance to see an iconic beauty’s face and body swarmed by bees. A closer look tells a deeper story of the delicate balance between humans and the pollinating insects we depend on for so much of the food we consume.
Three out of four leading food crops depend in part on pollinators, but honeybee populations have suffered mass die-offs in the past 15 years. Jolie sees links among a healthy environment, food security, and women’s empowerment. “With so much we are worried about around the world and so many people feeling overwhelmed with bad news,” she envisions tangible solutions to this challenge. “This is one that we can manage.”
Those mass bee die-offs have been linked to pesticides (especially a group of chemicals called neonicotinoids), parasitic varroa mites, and shrinking native habitat exacerbated by large-scale commercial monoculture. Climate change has also disrupted native species around the world, landing more than half a dozen native U.S. bee species on the Endangered Species List.
The message of the photo is to raise awareness of bee conservation and emphasize bees’ importance in the ecosystem. Also, Jolie wanted to draw attention to a UNESCO-Guerlain program that trains women as beekeeper-entrepreneurs and protectors of native bee habitats around the world. age.”
Story and photo courtesy of National Geographic