While it has been too little in the news, readers of MVG updates and the posts of other food and environmental organizations realize that bees are in grave danger, suffering from a combination of threats including a mysterious malady known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, which this past winter caused many beekeepers to lose 50% of more of their hives. The gravity of this issue cannot be overstated: bees are a foundation of the natural world, responsible for pollinating countless plants including more than 1/3 of all the food we eat. Here’s an action you can take now to help save the bees.
It is likely that CCD has multiple causes, but increasing attention is being paid to the role of pesiticides, including a class of pesticides knowns as neonicotinoids – among the most widely used in the world. Based on scientific evidence the European Union restricted the use of several “neonics” this year, but here in the U.S. the EPA says it may take until 2018 – five years from now – before it can make a decision. This is unacceptable.
As stated in this full page ad published today (the start date of the EU’s restriction) in the NY Times and other newspapers, the bees can’t wait five more years – and neither can we. The coalition behind this ad, which includes the Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network and others (including Friends of the Earth, whose additional action you can find on our advocacy page) has started an online petition demanding action from the EPA. Please sign this petition today – and then pass it on to your friends.
One last note – another primary threat to bees is loss of habitat and food sources, from the monocropping of industrial agriculture to the spread of lawn-dominated residential communities. This coming year, one of the best things you can do for bees and all pollinators is to give them more food – by planting bee-friendly flowering plants, and/or simply letting the plants you do grow flower. (Bees love flowering basil, for instance.) Let a thousand flowers bloom – for the bees, and for our future!