In celebration of Earth Day April 22: A salute to bees! (And what you can do to help!)
Did you know a third of the food we eat depends on pollination by insects? Since the late 1990s, beekeepers world-wide have been observing a major decline in honeybee colonies. Bees make more than honey—they are a key to our food production. A large variety of vegetables, fruits, and nuts depend on pollination by bees. Moreover, even the meat we consume depends on pollination by bees and other pollinating insects at some stage in its production (generally the food that livestock consumes).
The major threat to bee colonies comes from the toxic pesticides used in agricultural practices. In particular, the chemical group called “neonicotinoids” can cause acute and chronic poisoning to both individual bees and colonies. The economy values bees and estimates bees’ pollination work is equal to $364.5 billion dollars annually worldwide. (See http://sos-bees.org/ for more statistics.)
A number of companies are taking action to save the bees by starting campaigns to end the use of harmful pesticides, building bee-friendly environments, and shifting funding away from destructive industrial agriculture to instead promote ecologically friendly farming. Visit the following sites to find out what you can do!
1. Häagen-Dazs: Honey, Please Don’t Go: Häagen-Dazs has taken a stand to save the bees and has since 2008 donated more than $700,000 to honey bee research and restoration. Häagen-Dazs also supports the maintenance of the Häagen-Dazs “Honey Bee Haven”—a bee-friendly demonstration and education garden on the UC Davis campus. For more information about Häagen-Dazs’s campaign visit: https://www.haagendazs.com/Learn/HoneyBees/.
2. The Co-operative: Plan Bee: The Co-operative has created a free app on iTunes called “The Pollinator.” In this online game an individual’s character is a bee that is sent back from the future to save the bees from extinction. At the end of each level individuals learn different ways they can save bees in real life. For more details about the Co-operative’s mission visit: http://www.co-operative.coop/plan-bee/.
3. The Rainforest Site: Campaign to Save the Earth’s Honey Bees!: The Rainforest site has begun a petition to urge the EPA to outlaw neonicotinoids pesticides. To sign the petition or learn more visit: http://therainforestsite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/trs/petition/SaveEarthsHoneybees.
4. GreenPeace: Bee the Solution: Has created a dynamic, interactive site that highlights the bee problem, what needs to be done, and how you can make a difference. To Bee a part of the solution check out: http://sos-bees.org/.