“If the bees became extinct, man would only survive a few years beyond it.” ~ Albert Einstein
Without pollinators life on Earth would look nothing like we know it. Bees are our most prolific pollinators, followed by butterflies and other insects. 70% of all the plants on Earth depend on pollinators to reproduce. Human food crops, a narrower group within all of Earth’s plants, depend on pollinators to an even great extent. 90% of all food crops depend on pollinators to stimulate seed production for the next year’s crop. Without pollinators, plant reproduction would practically cease, our atmosphere would change, wildlife would suffer and die, and our food supply would dwindle. As Einstein understood, human survival, and the survival of many lifeforms, would perish.
Last summer a member of the team working on the Pollinator Conservation Education Project posted an article on this blog that included a link to a petition, which she encouraged you to sign. That petition was delivered to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The petition requested EPA ban the use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. The use of this class of pesticides is thought to be a factor in honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder, which has resulted in the death of millions upon millions of honey bees. Since 2006, every year another 30% of all honey bee colonies collapse, putting honey bees and US agriculture at serious risk. Honey bee reproduction can’t keep up with the rate of destruction. Colony Collapse Disorder is not limited to the US. It is a worldwide problem recognized by the United Nations.
EPA balked claiming no solid research supports a ban. The research EPA cited, to support rejecting the banning of neonicotinoids, was done by the very corporation that manufactures and sells neonicotinoids.
Europeans have been much more proactively engaged, working to save honey bees. This is not surprising since honey bees are actually native to Europe. European farmers brought honey bees to the US and established bee colonies wherever they settled in the New World. Honey bees thrived and unfortunately became a threat to bees native to our continent. Prior to the arrival of honey bees, native bees did a fine job of pollinating native plants. Today there is a movement afoot to restore native bee populations, but honey bees have become an integral part of the US agricultural economy and we must not lose sight of their importance. Nor should we forget that agriculture is the backbone of New York State’s economy. Our economy, as well as our survival, is, among other dependencies, pollinator dependent.
CREDO Action from Working Assets recently posted an online petition citing the new research linking neonicotinoids and honey bee colony collapse. There is enough evidence now to apply the precautionary principle and call for a ban on neonicotinoids until they are proven safe. Please take a moment and sign the new petition, even if you signed the previous one. It is a small, easy thing to do and could make a big difference.
Tell the EPA: Immediately suspend the pesticide that's killing bees! Click here to automatically sign the petition.