Our friends the bees have been having a hard time lately, and we've haven't been doing all that we could to protect them. As evidence has been mounting that certain pesticides were particularly harmful, the reaction has sadly been too slow and too limited in most parts of the world. There's been some good things in Europe, but even those efforts haven't been at the level required to assure a turnaround for the tireless workers that help pollinate billions and billions of plants for us.
Because the effort to protect bees has been so lackluster in so many places, I think it's important to highlight those who are making the effort and taking steps in the right direction. Hopefully this will encourage others to do the same. The latest examples of this are the city of Portland, which has banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, a wide-ranging classification of chemical pesticides, on its city-owned property. The City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance and made the ban effective immediately, so no playing around.
Another move in the right direction, though a much slower one, was taken by Lowe’s Home Improvement. After facing a lot of pressure from environmentalists, with petitions and letter campaigns, the retailer has decided to phase out products that contain neonicotinoid pesticides over the next 4 years. Lowe's is not a leader here, as other retailers like Home Depot, Whole Foods, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, have taken similar steps. But they are doing something, and even if it takes 4 years, that's better than not doing it.
“Bees are canaries in the coalmine for our food system and everyone, including the business community, must act fast to protect them,” said Lisa Archer, the food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth.
If you want to do your part, Friends of the Earth has a way for you to send a letter to the EPA, asking for a ban on the bee-killing chemicals.