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Monday, May 13, 2013

An Urgent Plea for Bees

You say you’re not a farmer? Well, do you have a lawn? We need to stop killing bees! PLEASE READ ON!

The April 2013 issue of Acres USA magazine (Vol. 43, no. 4), “the Voice of Eco-Agriculture” in this country, has an article by Donald Sutherland entitled “The Silent Spring.” The title should sound familiar: Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, was an indictment of the American attempt to dominate nature with chemistry, poisoning the environment with DDT. It was a wake-up call. Have we gone back to sleep? Looks like it.

Sutherland’s article in Acres focuses on widely used pesticides called neonicotinoids that get their name from their relation to nicotine. They are “in a class of insecticides that attack the central nervous system of insects,” and they are “toxic through the entire growing season.” Corn, soybeans, other vegetables, soil, seeds, timber, animal pests, fruit and nut crops –scarcely anything grown by American farmers is not treated with neonicotinoid, although all fruits, vegetables and trees depend on bees to pollinate their blossoms to produce seeds, vegetables and fruits!

Well, it must be safe, right? If the EPA and USDA allow its use? Think again.

A Purdue University study published in January 2012 concludes that the use of this class of insecticides is killing pollinating bees and can hang around in the soil for years. A study from Harvard School of Public Health links the pesticides with colony collapse disorder (CCD). France, Italy, and Germany have banned their use since 2008, and now the entire European Union is on board with the ban. The company producing the insecticide is a German company, and yet Germany banned the product, which is now banned throughout EuropeNot the U.S., though. While Europe was deciding to institute a continent-wide ban, our own EPA chooses to grant approval of the bee-killing poison.

If you’ve read this far, whether or not you have followed the links – which I urge you to go back and do if you haven’t – you should be getting an inkling of how how bad the situation is, but it’s worse than that, because who more than Americans has such a fetish for perfect lawns? Yes, lawn and garden products also contain neonicotinoids, so if you’re spraying your lawn or hiring a lawn care company that is spraying your lawn, please take time today to look into what you’re doing or having done in your name. Writes Sutherland:
Read the ingredients and look for any of these substances: clothianidin, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, nitenpyram, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam.
Please boycott products containing these toxins and tell everyone you know to do the same. You will be doing what you can at home to safeguard your country’s food supply, and isn’t that more important than a synthetic-looking green carpet around your house? Beyond the boycott, we need to harass our so-called representatives in Congress about this danger.

Water, soil, bees – we're dependent on them for survival. Why is a government agency set up to protect citizens not doing its job? Another five-year study required? Will there be any bees left by then? 
If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem. - Rachel Carson


Kathy said...

Thank you for alerting all of us to our possible roles in this bee scenario. We try not to use any fertilizer or pesticides. I'm glad you're helping to wake people up about this.

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks for not judging my un-Zen attitude, Kathy. I cannot accept but also refuse to lapse into silent helplessness. I'm basically a happy person, but this kind of thing makes me boiling mad.

Kathy said...

Buzzing mad, I should say, Pamela. I'm not sure I believe in 100% Zen.

Dawn said...

We stopped using anything years ago...hope our little bit helps.

P. J. Grath said...

Buzzing mad is good, Kathy, and I'm relieved you're not 100% Zen, or you'd be out of my league and in another altogether, i.e., sainthood.

Dawn, every bit of chemical-free ground is a refuge for nature. Thank you for doing your part! You, too, Kathy, and everyone else who isn't poison-happy.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

My husband and I have an orchard with over 300 trees in New England. We have chosen to not use any sprays or chemicals of any kind in our orchard. Many orchards use "organic" sprays but they can still be harmful to bees. I'm happy that you are bring this important subject up on your blog.

P. J. Grath said...

Karen, I'm so happy to have found your beautiful blog, and thanks for visiting and commenting here. Friends of ours have gone organic in their orchard. It takes commitment and sacrifice to change over, and I'm proud of them for doing it. Your place looks beautiful.

When you mention "organic" sprays, are you talking about clay? I'm foggy on this myself.