Sustainability Sunday #86
SAVE THE BEES.
A few weeks ago I was at work, early morning, opening up when I spotted a bee buzzing by the window looking for a way out. I asked a colleague of mine to fetch a cup and a piece of paper so I could catch him and let him out safely. “Ugh, just kill it, suck it up the hoover and throw the hoover bag out!” she said. “What! No! Why would I do that?” I exclaimed in response. “They’re horrible, and they’re all suicidal anyway.” she replied.
I was horrified. How many people think like this? Is there any hope for our poor misunderstood bees?
It seems there might be, in the last month France has banned all five of the pesticides that environmentalists believe play a big part in the decline of bee populations. Some of these pesticides cause bees to lose their memory and homing skills and recent research even suggests the bees can develop a dangerous addiction to the insecticides. It’s important to consider that this doesn’t bode well for farmers as the pesticides do not only affect bees but many other insects. Contradicting a previous decision to oppose a ban on pesticides due to “lack of evidence” the UK now backs the EU ban on all bee-harming pesticides.
We need bees to fertilise many of our crops. Other insects are of course pollinators too, but bees are estimated to provide billions of dollars’ worth of pollination services to farmers worldwide (Soil Association). There are around 7 crops in the UK that rely almost solely on bees for pollination (British Beekeeping Association), and bees are required for a huge number of fruits, nuts and berries to grow so if we are to continue greening our diets to reduce the impact of meat on the environment this will become all the more important.
Right now, there are 35 bee species facing extinction, so what can you do?
Never kill a bee!! In fact, scratch that, I know that you wont.
Plants some flowers, if you have space. A little windowsill lavender or a few bright flowers like pansies and geraniums. If you do have some outside space you can plant things like Borage, Camomile, Rosemary, Melissa, Sunflowers, Chives and Clover, bees LOVE these.
Get your Bee-Saving Kit from Friends of the Earth
Shop for organic certified foods (and plants) – wildlife including bees and birds tend to be more abundant on organic farms as the environment is more natural, encouraging this will increase the demand for natural processes that don’t involve using chemical pesticides.