Will the US Care About Bees When It Affects Our Wallets?
Bee populations around the world have been in a serious state of decline for several years now. While it makes the news every now and then, most Americans probably couldn’t care less. Ten dollar apples may change that, however.
Reports show that approximately 50 percent of all European honeybees in the U.S. met an untimely death due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) this year. Over the past few years, a growing number of studies show that a type of agricultural pesticide known as neonicotinoids is responsible, at least in part, for dwindling health of bees and beehives across the nation. Facing a lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of reviewing neonicotinoids’ impact on bees and wildlife, but don’t expect the results any time soon.
“Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year,” states the USDA. “About one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination. Yet, the total number of managed honey bee colonies has decreased from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today.”
Normally farmers rent domestic honeybee populations to pollinate their crops in a timely fashion, but with fewer and fewer hives to choose from, this service is getting pricey. And guess who’ll ultimately be picking up the tab? That’s right: we the consumers.
“Farmers are now projecting that the decrease in the supply of fruits and vegetables will be so great that prices will be impacted by the summer of this year,” reports Catholic Online. Some farmers are experimenting with wild bee pollination, but they’re harder to manage, and just like domestic hives, these volunteer pollinators are threatened by from rampant pesticide use in both private and commercial settings.
Humans are a self-absorbed species. Sure we like to socialize and snoop, gossip and pry into other people’s business. But when it comes to actually caring about things that don’t affect us directly, we’re too busy to pay attention.
Care2 has published dozens of articles about colony collapse disorder and the plight of the bees. We’ve also reported on lots of reasons bees are important to our survival on this planet, and why we should save them. Still, number continue to decline.
Is this the year America finally starts caring about the bees? Will skyrocketing price tags on foods we used to take for granted finally drive home the reality that we’re losing the bees because of our unwillingness to upset the corporations peddling poisonous pesticides? Once we feel the pinch on our own pockets, will we finally be ready to take a stand for the natural world that gives so much and asks for so little in return? Share your thoughts in a comment.
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