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Declining Bee Populations in Central California

Format: Maps & Exhibits, RSD10, Topic: Socioecological Design

Anthony Pan, Tara Banatwala, Spoorthi Cherivirala, and Jason Li

Carnegie Mellon University, US

The pollinator population has been on a steep decline since the early 2000s: a reported average loss of 30 per cent of honeybee colonies each winter. With California being one of the world’s agricultural giants, declining pollinator populations in California would disproportionately impact the rest of the US. Declining bee populations will leave crops unpollinated and farmers and beekeepers jobless; as a keystone species, local environments will suffer from diseases due to a lack of genetic diversity. California’s liberal legislation allowed our group to study interventions applied to this complicated web of interactions.

Our methods include mess mapping to scope out assumptions about the problem space, a three-horizons chart to organize current, transition, and future solutions on local, state, and global scales, and a STEEP chart to understand social, technological, economic, environmental, political implications of the issue.

Our first intervention included bipartisan policies between nonprofits and the government through programs such as the “Pollinator Partnership,” the UNDP, bans against neonicotinoids, and habitat conservation. Our second intervention involved technological improvements to the pollination process through AI, drones, and genetic engineering. Our third intervention looked at attempts at activism and public awareness through organizations and individuals buying local.

Reading Bee Populations in California

Organized within a metaphorical honeybee graphic, the wings on the left and right represent causes and effects of declining pollinators, and the abdomen explains existing protections. Smaller hexagons within the bee form illustrate positive and negative feedback loops within the system. The honeycomb in the background presents our three major interventions on a state, national, and global scale. To the right is our project rationale, with a minor colour-coded key at the bottom, and at the bottom right is a hyperlink to our references.

Map: Declining Bee Populations in Central California

To view the map detail, click the black arrow on the right. You can zoom in from the view on the new tab and explore the whole map. You can also download the full-size map from the new tab.




Citation Data

Author(s): Organized within a metaphorical honeybee graphic, the map includes bipartisan policies between nonprofits and government, technological improvements to the pollination process, activism and public awareness.
Title: Declining Bee Populations in Central California
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 1 September 2021
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