beginning to wonder just what in the world bees need to do to grab the attention
of the media and the public the way other issues grab them?
the next few weeks or so (date to be confirmed), EU member states will vote
on the European Commission's proposal to restrict the use of three of the
most widely used neonicotinoid insecticides on certain flowering crops throughout
Europe. The results of this vote are of ENORMOUS consequence. We're talking
here about nothing short of mass extinction if our already depleted pollinator
population is not protected from continuing poisoning by these, and other
insecticides. It's not as if we haven't already pushed them to the brink
by destroying, degrading and fragmenting their habitat.
of the other member states have raised objections to certain aspects of
the EC's proposal, but the UK, alone, rejects the entire proposal. Incredibly
and shamefully, the UK government are doing everything they can to block
this partial ban.
have thought the unprecedented decline of the creatures responsible for
pollinating a third of the world's food - not to mention over 80% of all
the flowering plants on this planet - might prompt concern; that it might
justify a mention on the six o'clock news, or an appearance on the front
page of the national newspapers. You might also have thought the media would
have something to say about our government's dangerous stance on this issue.....
no. This issue is barely ever discussed in the media so the majority of
the population remain completely oblivious of the fact there even IS a problem.
I believe people would be outraged if they were to understand exactly how
serious bee decline has become - but the fact it's not making headline news
means we are not party to the information that might make us think twice
about using pesticides - and/or prompt us to plant bee attracting flowers
in our gardens. One of the most frustrating things about bee decline is
that it is something we could all do something about. If only we knew it
that the current horse meat issue is absolutely scandalous, but seriously,
it's a picnic in the park compared with the possibility of mass insect extinction.
And, make no mistake, if we don't do everything we can to halt the decline
of bees and other pollinators, that is exactly where we're heading.
written in previous posts, pesticides are not the only cause of bee decline.
We have lost 98% of our wildflower meadows and grasslands since the end
of the second world war and this has already had a very serious impact on
bee species and population. There are other contributing factors such as
climate change, pollution, disease and (for honeybees) the practices involved
in large scale beekeeping.
or at least restricting the use of the neonicotinoid group of insecticides
that are implicated in bee deaths will not in itself solve the problem;
but it will go a long way towards it. It's too late to bring back most of
the the lost habitat, but we KNOW these pesticides are contributing to bee
decline and it is within our power to stop using them.
are not only important as pollinators of human food. They are 'keystone
species' within the world's eco-systems. A world without bees would result
in a world without the wild flowers they pollinate, along with the loss
of the birds, amphibians and small mammals that feed upon the seeds and
other parts of those wild flowers - and of course the predators further
up the food chain that rely on the small birds and mammals to keep them
alive. And that's just the tip of the iceberg!
about icebergs, I'm beginning to understand what it must have been like
to be aboard the Titanic just before she went down. A few of us have seen
the iceberg and realise the implications should the ship not change course
immediately - but most of the passengers are either turning a blind eye,
more interested in the latest celebrity gossip, or putting their trust the
ship's captain who says there is no danger and that he needs to see 'unequivocal
scientific evidence' that hitting ice-bergs causes ships to sink before
he'll give the order to turn his vessel around.
it's beyond my understanding why something as obvious and tangible as bee
decline isn't getting the publicity and attention it deserves, but in the
mean time you can help by writing to your MP and asking him/her to put pressure
on Owen Paterson, Secretary for the Environment to vote in favour of a partial
ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.
can download a template for your letter from the BUGLIFE charity website
here - Letter to MP template
for up-to-date information about the current situation please read this
excellent post by Matt Shardlow CEO of Buglife..... The Flight of Neonicotinoids
Loss of wild pollinators
serious threat to crop yields, study finds
you for all that you do!