Bees worldwide are under threat. Bee colonies are collapsing on a frightening scale. The main culprit that has emerged is a new type of insecticide which is a neurological toxin that affects information processing in the bee’s brain. After a while they can’t navigate home. Foraging bees die before they can get back to feed the babies or they pass it onto the babies and queen. In SA we are now using these toxic insecticides even though they have been banned in Germany, France and England.
Bees pollinate two-thirds of all our food. Their contribution to the SA citrus industry alone accounts for 1.6 million rand in value. When scientists noticed that silently, they were dying at a terrifying rate, Avaaz swung in to action, and kept on swinging until they won. This week’s victory is the result of two years of flooding ministers with messages, organizing media-grabbing protests with beekeepers, funding opinion polls and much, much more.
As Einstein pointed out:
“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”
Some good news. Avaaz’s activism has convinced the politicians in Europe to ban these lethal insecticides. Vanessa Amaral-Rogers from the specialist conservation organisation Buglife, says:“It was a close vote, but thanks to a massive mobilisation by Avaaz members, beekeepers, and others, we won! I have no doubt that the floods of phone calls and emails to ministers, the actions in London, Brussels and Cologne, and the giant petition with 2.6 million signers made this result possible. Thank you Avaaz, and everyone who worked so hard to save bees!”
However, the EU ban is only in place for 2 years pending further review. In South Africa and across the world there’s lots of work to do to ensure sound science guides our farming and environmental policies.
PS: Let’s keep this going — chip in to ensure we can launch rapid-fire, multi-tactic campaigns on the issues we all care about: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/bees_victory/?boAYgab&v=24668