Quantcast

This Woman Wears 15,000 Bees to Help Others Connect to Nature

It may sound outlandish, but Sara Mapelli dances with thousands of bees on her naked torso to help bring others closer to nature. Known as the Bee Queen, Mapelli is an Oregon-based artist and self-described energy therapist.

The bee dance, which she's been performing for more than a decade, is designed to be "healing" and "meditative," Mapelli told National Geographic in an interview. She hopes to help others get over their fears—including fear of bees—and help people who feel disconnected to nature.

Sara Mapelli performs meditative bee dances to help her clients connect with nature. Photo credit: Sara Mapelli

Bees' communal nature provides a great example of the feeling of interconnectedness that Mapelli wants to share with others. When her clients express feelings of separation or dissatisfaction, one of her solutions as part of her alternative medicine practice is to perform a bee dance.

To attract the bees, she rubs the same pheromone on her chest that a queen bee would give off (Queens use the pheromone to control the hive). Then a beekeeper lifts a frame that contains the hive, and bees begin to swarm her body. The pheromone, given to her by Oregon State University entomologist Michael Burgett, has the potency of what would be given off by a hundred queen bees.

"I’m like a tree with a huge tornado above me that gets smaller and smaller as the bees land," she said, describing how it feels to be swarmed by thousands of bees. "They are so loud; it’s an engulfing, beautiful sound."

Yes, it can be uncomfortable, she said, as up to 15,000 bees swarm her body, and she has been stung many times. But to her, it's all part of the therapy. She even started doing apitherapy, in which she uses bee products, including bee venom, to treat illness.

Mapelli said some people think she's crazy, but, apart from being therapeutic, the practice gives her an opportunity to talk about the important role bees play in pollinating our food and their larger role in the ecosystem. She also educates her clients on how we can protect these crucial pollinators.

Bees' vital role in the environment has been well documented. Bees are the most critical animal to human survival. In fact, Earth’s entire planetary ecology has been shaped by bees. Since they first evolved from wasps some 100 million years ago, bees have driven the evolution of plant life.

And yet, bees are in danger. A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year found that the U.S. honeybee population had plummeted by more than 40 percent since the previous year. Dr. David Suzuki and other leading experts have called for a global ban on the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, which have been linked to the mass die off in bees. President Obama organized a Pollinator Health Task Force, but many believe the plans for improving pollinator health do not go far enough.

Bees' critical role in our food system has even led some to wonder: If all the bees disappear, would we disappear with them?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

FDA Bans Three Chemicals Linked to Cancer From Food Packaging

Two Indoor Farm Startups Stand Up to Alaska’s Short Growing Season

Venezuela Bans GMO Crops, Passes One of World’s Most Progressive Seed Laws

Do Detox Diets Really Work?

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images

By Jennifer Molidor

One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.

Read More Show Less
Edwin Remsburg / VW Pics / Getty Images

Botswana, home to one third of Africa's elephants, announced Wednesday that it was lifting its ban on the hunting of the large mammals.

"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pxhere

By Richard Denison

Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).

Read More Show Less
De Molen windmill and nuclear power plant cooling tower in Doel, Belgium. Trougnouf / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Grant Smith

From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Brett Walton / Circle of Blue

By Brett Walton

When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gabriele Holtermann Gorden / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.

This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.

Read More Show Less
Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.

That's the conclusion of a new study from think tank Autonomy, which found that Germany, the UK and Sweden all needed to drastically reduce their workweeks to fight climate change.

"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."

The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.

The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.

The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.

"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."

Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.

"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."

Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.

"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice held a press conference after the annual shareholder meeting on May 22. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice

Amazon shareholders voted down an employee-backed resolution calling for more aggressive action on climate change at their annual meeting Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Read More Show Less