Here we are sixteen months later and the EPA has finally begun to acknowledge what research has shown for years: that neonic pesticides pose serious risks to bees, birds, other wildlife — and even human health. But, rather than taking sweeping measures to crack down on neonics, the EPA is pushing to continue allowing widespread neonic use all over the country, including on food crops.
Bees in particular, are necessary for successful food crops and their numbers have been reduced by over 90% in large part by the neonic products listed in the above referenced post. During the current corona virus pandemic many are worried about our food supply chain. We need to be more aware and concerned about how the lack of pollinators and neonic use will affect our agriculture in the future.
What Can We Do?
We can plant flowers for the pollinators
We can refrain from the use of insecticides
We can contact the EPA and complain about their lack meaningful action
We can call our US Representatives and Senators’ offices and express our concern about the EPA’s inaction
Bees have been declared the most important living being on the planet by the Earthwatch Institute. Seventy percent of the world’s agriculture depends exclusively on bees for pollination which enables plants to reproduce. A study conducted in Chili with the support of the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), concluded bees are the only living being that does not carry any type of pathogen, viral, fungal or bacterial.
Alarmingly almost 90% of the world’s bee population has disappeared in the past few years, putting bees on the endangered species list. The main reasons for the loss of these tiny helpers are the uncontrolled use of pesticides, a lack of flowers, and deforestation.
According to Greenpeace, we can restore and protect the world’s bees using ‘common sense actions’ such as banning the most dangerous pesticides, protecting pollinator health by preserving wild habitat and restoring ecological agriculture.
Pollinators, mainly bees, but also butterflies and other insects are necessary for our food supply. These pollinators are responsible for the sexual reproduction of plants by cross-pollination and also provide genetic diversity. Serious pollinator decline has been a worldwide problem since toward the end of the last century.
This decline coincides with the development of neonicotinoids (neonics for short) a chemical similar to nicotine which is used in a variety of insecticides. See the Wikipedia chart below for more information. Note that the US$ amount is from ten years ago.
Neonics are known to be toxic to not only pollinators but also birds, some aquatic animals, and other wildlife. The EU and Canada, as well as other countries, have restricted the use of neonics in an effort to curb the pollinator decline. One would think that the US would have done the same, but one would be wrong. Virtually all corn grown in this country is treated with one of these insecticides. In 2014 at least one-third of all soybeans planted were treated with these products.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has been reviewing this issue and has quietly pushed back its timetable for a decision of its own review. Knowing this I was curious as to whether the EPA’s website provided any current information. What I found was interesting.
There were twenty-two references found using the word “neonic” in a search. No, I did not read them.
Apparently, due to the monthlong government shutdown, the EPA had this notice at the top of the website:
Due to a lapse in appropriations, EPA websites will not be regularly updated. In the event of an environmental emergency imminently threatening the safety of human life or where necessary to protect certain property, the EPA website will be updated with appropriate information. Please note that all information on the EPA website may not be up to date, and transactions and inquiries submitted to the EPA website may not be processed or responded to until appropriations are enacted.
In spite of protests, petitions, lawsuits (NRDC) and Congressional bills (Conyers) the EPA continues its inaction while over 4,000 species of wild bees and other pollinators are destroyed.
“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.” Ramakrishna
On April 15 the calf, reportedly a male, was born. It was thrilling to watch the delivery and the newborn appeared healthy. Apparently we have seen the last of him, because the camera has not been live streaming for the past 24 hours. As many others, I have been concerned by some aspects of this fun experience. The giraffe pens look small and Upstate NY is not a normal environment for this species. The park has made well over $135,000 with a GoFundMe account, in addition to charging for such privileges as submitting a name in the naming contest. I have boycotted circuses for most of my adult life and am conflicted by zoos, but this is an “animal park,” so perhaps is not even as well equipped as an actual zoo. Not having visited this establishment, I have no evidence that its animals are not being well cared for, but I have questions.
9. Alot is not a word. It is not, even though a lot of people believe otherwise.
10. I am no Oprah. Oprah speaks and people listen. Oprah advertises and people buy. Oprah recommends and people read. Oprah is self-assured and wealthy. I am neither.
11. CPR does not always work. Sadly, I know this first hand.
12. Grandparents are not infallible. Last weekend I saw a grandfather spaying weedkiller all over the yard, entusiastically squirting every dandelion. I thought how sad it was that honeybees would not be safe collecting pollen on those round circles of sunshine. Then only minutes later, to my amazement, I saw the grandmother accompany three little preschoolers into the yard with brightly colored buckets to hunt Easter Eggs.
“So cling tightly to the pursuit, but hold your conclusions loosely.”
What I Know for Sure 1 & 2
There are few things of which I am 100% sure, but one of those certainties is the fact that I love my family with all my heart.
Having time alone is a necessity for me, but I sometimes forget how much I need to be with people.
Native Americans should not be called Indians.
Dish towels and dish cloths should be laundered separately, i.e., not with underwear.