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5 Amazing Efforts to Save the Bees

5 Amazing Efforts to Save the Bees

Many environmental problems can feel overwhelming.

Even if you can inspire action on a local level, to cut carbon emissions for example, the impact of those cuts is usually masked by the juggernaut of “business-as-usual” elsewhere.

When it comes to bees, however, “thinking local” has the potential to have immediate, tangible results.

Because bees are such a central part of every single ecosystem, regional efforts to protect them can have a direct and visible impact on their numbers. And because pollinators are central to our own well-being, it’s a fair bet that such measures will have broader ecological and economic impacts too.

Perhaps that’s why regional and local efforts to protect our bees are proliferating.

Here are some of our favorites.

Europe bans neonicotinoid pesticides

Despite opposition from several member states, including the UK, Europe has voted to implement a 2-year precautionary ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides with flowering crops favored by bees. Whether or not that will be enough to reverse the tide of deaths remains to be seen, but there are reports that previous temporary bans of neonicotinoids in parts of Europe already lead to rebounds in bee numbers. Now we get to test out the theory on a continental scale.

London promotes beekeeping

Cities haven’t traditionally been thought of as strongholds of beekeeping. Yet as industrial monocultures have lead to decreased biodiversity in the country, many bee advocates have suggested that the gardens and parks of the city could provide an ideal alternative. That’s why many people rejoiced at the launch of Capital Bee, a $60,000 fund to support community groups interested in beekeeping.

The London Beekeepers Assocation, however, dismissed the idea as yet more “bee bling”, suggesting that promoting wildflower plantings and increased forage opportunities should be prioritized over increasing the number of actual colonies. (It has to be said, this always felt like a “both/and”, not “either/or” issue to me.)

Paris goes pesticide-free

Speaking of healthy urban bees, studies have shown that bees in Paris are healthier and more productive than their rural counterparts. Exactly why that is remains the subject of much conjecture, and it is most likely that a combination of factors are at play.

While researchers found that Paris hives contained as many as 250 different types of pollen, compared to 15 to 20 different types in the country, they also point to the fact that the City of Light has been officially pesticide-free since 2004.

 

Photo Credit: by TonyTheTiger, CC by 3.0

Chicago promotes green roofs

Increased forage opportunities in parks and gardens is welcome, but what if all those black asphalt roofs also became a living ecosystem of plants? That’s the idea behind efforts to green the rooftops of Chicago. From Wal-mart to City Hall, green roofs have been sprouting up across the city. And because green roofs also filter storm water and reduce the need for energy consumption, there are additional benefits to be had in terms of ecological health. (Yeah, bees don’t like climate change either.)

Bhutan goes 100% organic

Everything is connected, so efforts to save bees must be considered as part of a broader shift toward environmental sustainability. Like green roofs or reducing pesticide use in cities, reforming our agricultural practices is one of those measures that can return multiple dividends in terms of reduced groundwater pollution; fewer greenhouse gas emissions; richer, more biologically active soil, and the protection of bees and other important species.

So news that Bhutan is aiming to become the world’s first 100% organic country should be celebrated as a major step for the protection of bees too. Likewise, the organic efforts of the Indian states of Sikkim and Kerala should create geographically expansive safe havens for bees and other species—not to mention provide an example for farmers and agricultural experts elsewhere to learn from.

Related

Bee Venom Kills HIV (Just Another Reason to Save the Bees!)

7 Simple Ways to Help Honey Bees

Bee-Friendly Landscaping

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife, , ,

By Sami Grover

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

101 comments

+ add your own
1:05AM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

My own part in trying to help bees? I thought of having a hive until I realise how much work it is in the summer when I'm usually not around much. I plant bee-friendly flowers. I believe double flowers are grown for eye appeal, but are useless to pollinators. Single varieties of flowers are much better. I recall seeing an ice plant (a kind of sedum) in my garden covered with bees, and have been propogating ice plants frm cuttings ever since.

1:03AM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

Harsha V says that 'I believe cell-phone radiation is equally deadly for bees'

This deserves to be investigated, hopefully by a probing, awareness-raising.TV programme. I never understand why people are quite so devoted to their mobiles when it is so much cheaper to wait till you get home, then witter to your heart's content on a landline with free any-time calls like mine. Alternatively, it could turn out to be an urban myth, which would be much better news for bees.

Anyway it is good to see a bee-friendly article on Care2. I recall an attack on honey that tried to dismiss commercially kept bees as invaders driving away better pollinators, I was very sceptical about that.

8:16AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

4:00AM PDT on Jul 7, 2013

In several places on the outskirts of London, unused grass areas have been turned into wildflower parks. That is such a great idea, there are many such areas throughout the UK, where they could be put to good use. One family member of mine who has been concerned about the lack of bees and insects, visited such an area recently. She reported back that she was happily surprised at the prolific amount of insect life including many types of bees and butterflies. This could be done in so many areas even on rooftops.

My house backs on to woodland and we have a lot of bramble to deal with. It is all in flower at the moment, so we leave it until they die off because it is a big attraction for the bees. We can all do something with our own small patch. We could also encourage our local authorities to make better use of unused grassland or wastelands

10:22AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

"Over the long haul of life on this planet, it is the ecologists, and not the bookkeepers of business, who are the ultimate accountants." ~ Stewart Udall


10 Commandments of Mother Earth

5:43AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

YEAH!!! Good for the bees.

1:10AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

I'm glad some countries have come on board to deal with this issue, instead of just thinking of the money aspect, and just sweeping it under the carpet.. otherwise Great work!

3:20AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

good news,thank you for sharing 5/7

10:25AM PDT on Jul 1, 2013

This is great but it needs to be a universal effort---otherwise nothing will really change 4 our bees. Thanks

7:45AM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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