Saving bees isn't just about saving the honey makers of the world so we can have it to drizzle on our toast in the morning. When it comes to our food and wild plants and economic health, bees are invaluable.
Bees pollinate one in every three bites you eat and 70 percent of America's food sources. If that statistic isn't alarming enough, let's add some dollar signs to it. The global value of bee pollination is $200 billion annually. If that statistic isn't alarming enough, let's add some dollar signs to it. The global value of bee pollination is $200 billion annually.
And it's all at risk. Bee keepers are reporting startling decline in colonies in the past 5 years. 30 percent of hives have been lost in the US alone. Although there are several contributing factors to the population decline in bees including climate change, it's becoming increasingly apparent that a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids are particularly to blame. In fact, the European Union recently suspended the use of these pesticides after experiencing their own bee population decline.
In July, more than 25,000 dead honey bees and several other insect species were found in a Target parking lot in Oregon after being exposed to pesticides sprayed on trees surrounding the parking lot. The EPA has recently introduced new labeling for neonicotinoids in places where bees are present acknowledging that these chemicals pose serious harm to the country's pollinators.
If we act fast, we can save one the world's most important species. But we need Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the use of bee-killing neonicotinoids immediately.
Representative Earl Blumenauer and Representative John Coyners just introduced a Congressional bill, called Save the Pollinators Act, that would ban neonics until a scientific studies could prove no harm will come to bee populations from their use. Passing this bill won't be easy. Big Agriculture and chemical companies are already lobbying hard to defeat it. The U.S. Committee on Agriculture is now reviewing the bill, and it's up to us to tell them just how important it is.
Massive public support is the only chance the bees have. Over 100,000 Greenpeace supporters helped raise the profile of this issue last month. Together we now have a chance to save the bees before it is too late.