Bees around the world are rapidly declining due to harmful pesticides, parasites, climate change, and habitat loss. These vital pollinators are an integral part of our food system and we cannot survive without them.
On World Bee Day, National Geographic released a mesmerizing photo of Angelina Jolie covered in bees. The actress and humanitarian posed with the bees to raise awareness of the dangers they face and to shed light on a program that helps women beekeepers around the world.
The viral photo was taken by photographer and amateur beekeeper, Dan Winters. Jolie was swarmed by bees for 18 minutes but wasn’t stung once. However, one did go under her dress, but just buzzed around on her leg until she lifted her skirt.
She describes the experience in an interview with Indira Lakshmanan, senior executive editor at National Geographic. “You have to be really still and in your body, in the moment, which is not easy for me. I think part of the thought behind it was, this creature is seen as dangerous sometimes or stinging. So how do we just be with it? The intention is we share this planet. We are affected by each other. This is what it should feel like and it really did, and I felt very honored and very lucky to have the experience.”
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Jolie plans on doing more than just posing with bees. She wants to help bees, the environment, and women.
She sees the bigger picture.
“I know it seems like I’m now working on bees, but really, to me, the bee and the pollination and the respect for the environment, it’s all interconnected to women’s livelihoods, [and to] displacement from climate change.”
The activist is the ‘godmother’ of a female beekeeping entrepreneurship program called Women for Bees started by UNESCO and Guerlain. Women around the world will be trained to be beekeepers and protect natural bee habitats.
It is a win-win.
Over the next five years, the program will train 50 women and build over 2,500 hives which will restore 125 million native bees. The program will help preserve bees as well as create revenue for women and their communities.
Jolie plans on becoming a beekeeper as well, but she believes we can learn from each other.
“It’s not just about going around teaching women, it’s about learning from women all around the world who have different practices,” she said in the interview.
At her home she is figuring out the best place to add hives but already has tons of native flowers for the pollinators.
She encourages everyone to help. “With so much we are worried about around the world and so many people feeling overwhelmed with bad news and the reality of what is collapsing, this is one that we can manage. We can certainly all step in and do our part.”
Ways You Can Help Bees
Plant native wild flowers.
Add a wooden bee house or hive.
Donate to help bees around the world.
Sign petition urging EPA to ban harmful pesticides that are killing honey bees.
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