Last week, from June 17th – 23rd, people across the country swarmed together to celebrate National Pollinator Week and raise awareness about the importance of bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators. After all, 1 in every 3 bites of food we eat depends on the 200,000 something species responsible for pollinating our plants. Never missing an opportunity to talk about the birds and the bees, Center for Food Safety was eager to join the festivities and hosted several events and activities during the week, including:
There was also quite a bit of buzz generated by some unexpected pollinator activities that week. On Wednesday, June 19th, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a pollinator protection amendment to the Farm Bill, which (if the Farm Bill had passed) would have helped to ensure the viability of honey bees, native pollinators and other beneficial insects. While numerous other amendments critical to supporting sustainable food systems were left out of Farm Bill discussions or later voted against, Representative Alcee Hastings, who sponsored the pollinator amendment, proceeded to candidly remind his colleagues, “No bees, no food.” Others seemed to agree, and the amendment passed by a bipartisan vote of 273-149. In addition to Center for Food Safety, some of the other groups on record in support of the amendment included: American Honey Producers Association, American Beekeeping Federation, American Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union, Blue Diamond Growers, American Farmland Trust, Pollinator Partnership and National Wildlife Federation.
Also creating quite a sticky situation during National Pollinator Week was the unfortunate mass bumblebee kill in Oregon, where a neonicotinoid pesticide application to blooming Linden trees killed over 50,000 native bumblebees. Perhaps even more alarming than the incident itself is the fact that these types of pesticide-related bee kills happen regularly across the globe – and unlike managed honey bees, without careful documentation (as was the case with the recent tragedy in OR) these incidents would go unnoticed.
Just a few days after this horrific pesticide bee-kill, Center for Food Safety and 11 other environmental and public interest groups sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take necessary action with neonicotinoids and follow the European Union’s lead in suspending these bee-toxic chemicals. As the ecological impacts of these chemicals are becoming more apparent through new scientific research and real world consequences, CFS will continue advocating for their suspension and the protection of pollinators.