I first became captivated by honeybees when Colony Collapse Disorder emerged in 2006. Inexplicably, millions of bees were either abandoning their hives or dying en masse. News coverage of the phenomenon carried an apocalyptic urgency. One third of our diet is dependent on honeybees for pollination. Were pesticides to blame? Cell phones? Ten years later, awareness has improved, but honeybees are even more threatened. While it’s no longer a mystery, the problem cannot be easily summed up in a headline. Recently, I became a backyard beekeeper myself in Brooklyn. My fascination with these insects has grown into a deep affinity and sense of stewardship.
The island of Hawaii is a dramatic microcosm for the forces at play around the world. It is a landscape of ecological extremes, and has a complex socio-political history of migration, monarchy, colonization and now, renewed indigenous-led political and environmental movements. As Naomi Klein argues, climate activism must connect with “the unfinished business of the most powerful liberation movements of the past two centuries, from civil rights to feminism to Indigenous sovereignty...Climate change can be the force – the grand push – that will bring together all of these still living movements.” I am driven to reveal underlying meanings about subjects that are unsettling and urgent. Rather than taking an outwardly activist stance, I aim to challenge the viewer to examine questions in ways that may not reconcile contradictions or draw easy conclusions.