Petitions & Actions
There are a number of bills (see below) making their way through various legislative bodies, and about which it is important to make your voice heard with your representatives. It is very helpful to have bee-protective legislation flowing from the top down, in terms of preservation of habitat, regulation of pesticides, and listing of bee species as endangered. But it is arguably more important to be working at the grass-roots level within local communities, planting pesticide-free flowering spaces, creating homes for pollinators, and sharing ways to help bees with your friends, family, and neighbors.
At the end of last year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the first bees as endangered (seven bee species endemic to Hawaii). This January, they added the first bumble bee (the rusty-patched bumble bee) to the endangered species list (this bee’s populations, across a once—broad range of 28 states—have declined by 87% since the late 90s). Although there was a delay in the listing going into effect, the good news is that it became effective March 21, 2017. Listing bee species as endangered is important because conservation efforts and remediation to help these bees will help many of our other pollinators.
It’s interesting to note that a number of industry groups (American Petroleum Institute, CropLife America, Independent Petroleum Association of America, National Association of Home Builders, National Cotton Council, and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) petitioned the Secretary of the Interior to delay the listing of the rusty-patched bumble bee for another year. Their petition claimed that “Once the listing decision takes effect, virtually every industry operating within the species’ range – from agriculture and crop production to residential and commercial development, from energy production and distribution to manufacturing, will be profoundly affected.” I don’t see protecting this bumble bee bringing modern civilization to a grinding halt; not taking care of our bees might just do that though.
There are now a multitude of new attacks (100+ bills) on the Endangered Species Act itself 😢 Earthjustice is collecting signatures to send on to members of congress. If you wish to protect our most imperiled wildlife, please consider adding your name here.
Bills and regulations affecting pollinators
HR 953 (U.S.)
This year’s annual version of attempts to weaken our already critically-weak pesticide restrictions in waterways. Pesticides in waterways have incredibly negative repercussions for wildlife (and people!) Pollinators may drink directly from waterways, and also forage at plants nearby that have taken up pesticides through their roots.
HR 861 (U.S.)
A new bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is far from perfect, and has often been influenced by industry (in part by having had funding removed for most of their labs, causing them to rely on manufacturers’ testing data rather than their own testing). Nevertheless, the EPA is a good organization that assures a certain degree of absolutely critical environmental protection. Contact your representatives (the most effective thing to do is to call them) and tell them to reject this outlandish bill.
SB 602 (California)
California Pollinator Protection Act requires labeling all seeds and plants pre-treated with neonicotinoids (neonics), so that people buying plants they think are “bee friendly” are not inadvertently poisoning pollinators. The bill would also restrict the sale of neonics to certified applicators, farmers, and veterinarians, helping prevent overuse by the general public.
SB 929 (Oregon)
Oregon Pollinator Protection Act places restrictions on consumer purchase and use of the controversial systemic pesticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics). Although neonics are used by farmers, they are also used by home gardeners, often unwittingly, and often in greater quantities and frequencies than the labels allow. To protect pollinators and other wildlife, we should restrict the sale of these dangerous chemicals to consumers.
Minnesota formulated action steps steps last August to help protect its pollinators, recognizing neonics as a danger to bees and the state’s crops. These steps are moving forward, but two pieces of the plan required legislative approval. The first is a pollinator account fund, which is part of the omnibus agricultural finance bill. The second would have allowed the state to monitor and regulate pesticide-coated seeds (the most common type of neonic application), but unfortunately lawmakers stripped such provisions in mid-March.
In 2015, Ontario passed regulations to reduce neonic-treated corn and soybean acreage by 80% by the end of 2017 (specifically: imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin). So far, acreage has been reduced by 24% as of last October. Health Canada has since proposed a phase-out of all agricultural and most outdoor usage of imidacloprid in 3-5 years. This decision is open for public input through March 23, 2017.
Leaving the EU, there’s an opportunity to put in place even stronger environmental protections. But some would prefer to take this opportunity to weaken regulations. Contact your MP to let them know you oppose legislation that increases ours and bees’ exposure to pesticides. The EU moratorium on neonicotinoids (neonics) and the proposed ban on glyphosate (Roundup) are also under attack by industry. Sign this petition to back the ban on bee-harming pesticides.
These international organizations (below) are working to promote many causes, among them solutions to the plight of bees worldwide. Take action by joining or contributing to their causes, and learning more about how these organizations are working to protect the pollinators on which our world depends. Without pollinators, we face serious challenges to our food system and to our planet’s future.
- Add your voice to thousands of people around the world who want to protect the bees by banning bee-killing pesticides and chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and promoting ecological farming.
- The Role of the Bee: If wild pollinator declines continue, we run the risk of losing a substantial proportion of the world’s flora
- Causes: Pollinators cannot escape the various and massive impacts of industrial agriculture
- Solutions: Ecological farming ensures healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow
- Robobees? This is not our vision for the future of agriculture
- The Perfect Crime: What’s Killing all the Bees?
- The Case of the Vanishing Bees
- Bees’ Toxic Problem
- Toxic Pesticide Threatens Honeybees
Friends of the Earth
- #BeeBold Taking action in our own backyards and beyond to save bees and other essential pollinators