Monday, July 8, 2013

Dear Mr. President, please help our bees!

Bees are a big deal. I don't want to over exaggerate, but they are basically the glue that holds are ecosystem system together. It's not news to anyone that the rapid decline in the honey bee population is now a global epidemic, the population has been dropping by a third each year since 2007, and while other foreign institutions are acknowledging the issue and passing laws banning certain pesticides linked to bee death the U.S is slow in its reaction. 

This past May the European Commission adopted a two year ban on the use of three pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) cited to be responsible for mass bee death. This ban states that the countries have six months to use up their supply of said pesticides, then during those two years, scientists will determine if the ban has had an effect on the bee population. Well done Europe, well done.

Now back to the good ol' USA

Our country is experiencing the exact same honey bee decline, but our efforts to protect the current population and build a safe environment for our bees to repopulate is estimated to be 5-10 years down the line according to a recent report by the USDA. On average, U.S. beekeepers lost 45.1% of the colonies in their operation during the winter of 2012-2013, with many reporting over 70% losses of their bee colonies. Just a few days ago half a million bees were found dead in a parking lot in Oregon due to pesticides being sprayed on the surrounding trees, and now 30+ MILLION bees were killed in Elmwood, Canada.
(Ok so not technically the US, but still North America)

Hot on the heels of the EU pesticide reform, 13 US environmental organizations have banned together to urge President Obama to enforce an even stricter ban on bee harming pesticides. The letter written by the organizations, including Sierra Club and Beyond Pesticides, states that not banning these pesticides is grossly irresponsible not only on behalf of the environment but to our economy as well:

" Experts have identified the potential for 'domino effects' of cascading inadequate crop pollination due to shortage of viable pollinators.This could rapidly evolve into devastating, perhaps irreversible, losses to farmers,consumers and the economy as a whole, which relies on domestically-produced bee-pollinated food and fiber crops."

Considering honey bee pollination contributes $20-$30 billion to the US agriculture Industry, any form of pesticide regulations could not only benefit the dire state of our pollinators but the dire state of our economy as well. 

So please Mr. President, help our bees. 

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