Citizens of Earth!
The natural systems that feed our planet are under threat. Bees, who pollinate of over 1/3 of the food we consume, are dying off at a terrifying rate. Internationally, we have lost roughly 32% of colonies, and the problem, named Colony Collapse Disorder, is continuing to gain momentum. Research indicates a mixture of pesticides, fungicides, mites, genetically modified organics, climate change and bad beekeeping practices are to blame, but significant questions about the causes and their prevention remain.
The Open Source Beehives project is a partnership between Open Tech Forever and Fab Lab Barcelona. It is our conviction that we citizens can and must actively help solve this crisis. Legislation, regulation, and official involvement have so far failed to address the problem. We must take matters into our own hands and avert this crisis to sustain our existence.
The OSBH project has two elements :
We have developed two beehive designs that can freely downloaded,
'printed' from a single wood panel, and assembled without
screws or glues. (See our video)
We are developing a beehive sensor board to monitor conditions
relevant to colony health, and share the data online openly via the
Smart Citizen platform.
The aim of the project is to create a citizen-led mesh network of data-generating honey bee colonies for local, national, and international study of the causes and prevention of Colony Collapse Disorder. We hope to awaken a responsible backyard beekeeping & citizen science revolution while improving our understanding of honey bee health in industrialised countries and promoting their recovery.
These aims require collaboration between citizens, academic and research institutes, technologists, organisations and designers. We are actively looking for partnerships, and appreciate any help with outreach to relevant groups.
Citizens: Consider becoming a beekeeper. If it is conducive to your lifestyle and you are determined, print or order one of our hives, get yourself a colony, and participate in strengthening the bee population in your area. You can also plant bee forage in your garden and wider community.
Academic & Research Institutes: Advise us on the development of our colony sensors and partner with us to study the data generated once the project is implemented. Generate useful insights into the problem of and solution to Colony Collapse Disorder once these elements are in place.
Technologists & Designers: Help us develop hive sensor boards, beehives, and digital infrastructure for sharing and hosting the generated data.
Organisations: Help us with outreach to increase participation in the project and build partnerships.
Below are some bite sized ways you can help the project:
Please help spread this open letter by clicking and sharing the link button at the bottom of this post. Please respond in the comments below, or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Open Source Beehives team.
(Open Tech Forever & Fab Lab Barcelona)