Manufacturing giant Bayer is one of the world’s largest corporations, and its company policies are having a direct impact of the country’s bee population. Paul Rowney explains why you should be extremely worried, and how to do something about it now.
Bayer is a $50bn German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company. It recently acquired Monsanto for $66bn (sellers of the cancer causing herbicide ‘Round Up’), creating (what some would argue) is an environmental marriage made in hell. Bayer has been around for over 100 years and has produced a vast array of pharmaceuticals, from the life saving Aspirin, to the life taking Zyklon B used to gas prisoners during the World War Two.
Their latest disaster sees them take legal action in Europe to overturn an EU Court ban on the neonic pesticides they produce, which repeated scientific research has shown significantly harms the bee population.
In May this year, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of a partial ban on three neonics — and environmentalists hoped the case was finally settled for the bees. But now, Bayer announced it wants to drag the EU back into court again and appeal. If it wins, it would wreck the recent almost complete ban too.
Why should what is happening in Europe be of concern to you?
According to Tom Philpott of the Genetic Literacy Project: “Here in the United States, use of neonicotinoids continues unabated. They’re widely applied to corn, soybean, and cotton seeds before planting. The chemicals suffuse the resulting plants, including their pollen and nectar, poisoning crop-chomping insects. Meanwhile, research uncovering the potential unintended effects from neonics continues to pile up. The pesticides are showing up at high levels in the Great Lakes and are likely harming songbirds, as well as bees. Perhaps most troublesome of all for the companies that make them, recent studies have found that neonics don’t seem to boost yields for either corn or soybean growers. Bees are vital to our food supply — providing one of every three bites of food we eat. But bees and other pollinators are declining at catastrophic rates and neonic pesticides are a key culprit. That’s why maintaining the EU’s ban on neonics is so important.”
Leading the public campaign to uphold the ban is pressure group sumofus.org. On their website they claim: “Neonics are coated upon seeds before they are planted, spreading through the plant and killing insects stopping by for a snack. These pesticides can be replaced by more integrated pest management approaches which don’t have such a devastating effect on the food chain. But companies like Bayer, BASF and Syngenta make a fortune from selling neonics — so they’ll do everything they can to protect their profits”. SumOfUs have been right at the front of the global campaign to save our bees. Tens of thousands from the SumOfUs community took action and got Lowe’s — one of the biggest garden retailers in the world — to stop selling bee-killing pesticides.
Sign the petition to tell Bayer, BASF and Syngenta to drop their bee-killing lawsuits here.
A recent report in the UK Guardian Newspaper, explains more about the Research showing how bees are impacted by Neonicotinoids :
“The negative impacts found varied across different countries, leading the pesticide manufacturers to question whether the results of the research, which they funded, were real. The new research is published in the prestigious peer-review journal Science.
Neonicotinoids represent a quarter of the multi-billion dollar pesticide market but have been repeatedly linked to serious harm in bees in lab-based studies. Bees and other pollinators are vital to food production but are in decline, in part due to loss of habitats and disease. But there had been few realistic field studies to date to address the role of the insecticides and only occasional evidence for colony-level harm in wild bees.
Why are bees important? 10 reasons to care about saving the bees
Bees are amongst the most important creatures to humans on Earth. These amazing insects pollinate over 80% of all flowering plants including 70 of the top 100 human food crops. One in three bites of food that we eat is derived from plants pollinated by bees. But the role bees play in nature is likely part of a greater story. Bees have been producing honey from flowering plants for the last 10 to 20 million years, and have been mentioned in ancient writings, including the Vedic texts and Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform. As major contributors to floral growth, bees provide nourishing habitats for animals like birds and insects and beautify the Earth. Many of the floral landscapes that we know and love in nature are made possible because of honey bee pollination.
BEES PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN NATURE
1. Bees pollinate 80% of flowering plants on Earth. tweet this (Source: One Green Planet)
2. One single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. tweet this (Source: National Honey Board)
3. Bee pollination helps to provide nourishing habits for animals like birds and other insects. tweet this (Source: One Green Planet)
4. Bees are major contributors the floral landscapes that we know and love in nature. tweet this (Source: One Green Planet)
BEES ARE VITAL TO THE HUMAN FOOD SUPPLY
1. Bees pollinate 70 of the top 100 human food crops. tweet this (Source: Greenpeace)
2. 1 in 3 bites of food we eat is derived from plants pollinated by bees. tweet this(Source: USDA)
3. Bees pollinate about 75% of fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the US. tweet this(Source: USDA)
4. Almonds are totally dependent on bee pollination. No bees, no almonds. tweet this(Source: American Beekeeping Foundation)
5. Avocados, apples, and cherries are over 90% dependent on bee pollination. tweet this (Source: National Honey Board)
6. Cucumbers, kiwis, and melon are majorly dependent on bee pollination. tweet this(Source: National Honey Board)
(Courtesy: Paul Jorgensen http://www.lifebasicsorganics.com/blog/why-are-bees-important)
Read more here.