The total ban of pesticides harmful to bees by the EU demonstrates that you should not underestimate the power of your voice, your signature on a petition, your simple actions – they do make a difference – and the honey bees are benefiting from it.
Looking back on 10 days of publicity, the ground swell that took on the EU to enforce this total ban on bee-killing pesticides in all 28 EU countries, is your voice at work. Organisations such as Avaaz played a key role over 7 years, being cited as a “catalyst” of the outcome. As the organisation reports this ban is MASSIVE as “it bans the world’s most common insecticides, pressing industry to develop a whole new model of non-toxic agriculture”. Kudos to the 5 million voices that signed the largest petition for bees ever built. Along with SumofUs.org whose 600 000 penned petition added to the impetus, the work of these organisations and you, by joining forces with them, is that vote that swings the negative effects of past thinking into the positive change for our future.
Well done to everyone who fought in the public eye and behind the scenes – as Spanish MP Juan López de Uralde (Unidos Podemos/EQUO) said: “None of this would have been possible without the mobilisation of millions of people who put the pressure on governments to get it done.” EU Environment Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said he was “happy that member states voted in favour of our proposal” to restrict the chemicals.
A Commission statement said EU states had “endorsed a proposal by the European Commission to further restrict the use of three active substances… for which a scientific review concluded that their outdoor use harms bees.” Pesticides: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, based on the chemical structure of nicotine, attack the nervous systems of honey bees. Unlike pesticides that stay on the surface of plants, neonicotinoids are absorbed by the plant from the seed phase and transported to leaves, flowers, roots and stems; designed to control ‘sap-feeding’ insects, such as aphids and root-feeding grubs, these neonicotinoids have been used for 20 years and are a major contributor to the decline in honey bee populations. Pesticide Action Network Europe’s Martin Dermine is quoted as saying that “Authorising neonicotinoids a quarter of a century ago was a mistake and led to an environmental disaster.” Making this vote historic.
This is a great win for honey bees. I look forward to a South Africa that takes up their cause on this level, shifting to agricultural practice that is not harmful in any form or fashion to our bees and necessary insects – and so greatly supporting our continents future diversity in food security along with our rich biodiversity. Both of which are under direct threat without bees and insects.
The 28 European Union countries supporting the ban: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.