Is it even possible to sue an entire continent?
When Bayer CropScience started promoting its Ultimate Bug Killer with "free seeds for bees", many bee advocates assumed it was some kind of sick joke.
You see the active ingredient in Ultimate Bug Killer, thiacloprid, is in the neonicotinoid class of pesticides—which numerous studies have linked to bee deaths around the world.
So much so that the European Commission voted for a temporary moratorium on several leading types of neonicotinoids. (Although George Monbiot has pointed out that the ban does not cover all neonicotinoids.)
For Bayer, however, even such temporary precautionary measures are "unjustified" and "disproportionate" and it has now unleashed a lawsuit to get the ban lifted. (Syngenta, another manufacturer of neonicotinoids, is pursuing a similar line of attack.)
Bee advocates are, of course, outraged. An online petition to force the chemical giants to drop their legal efforts is rapidly gathering signatures:
We have to stand up for the European ban now, from Europe and from around the world. The current ban only lasts for two years before it's up for review, and Bayer is now determined to stop it before it even comes into force in December 2013. If it is allowed to intimidate the European authorities with impunity, then the pressure to overturn the ban will be huge. This will be a massive victory for the poison industry, and a devastating loss for the bees, and all of us. It will make every environmental regulation more difficult, because companies that can't win on the facts can use their enormous profits to fund expensive, baseless lawsuits.
At the time of writing, the petition is nearing its goal of 200,000 signatures.
It goes without saying, however, that a few more wouldn't hurt. Given that a previous petition to ban neonicotinoids attracted millions of supporters, it shouldn't be a problem to get support for a ban that is already in place.
Please spread the word.