Bees are dying by the millions all across America.
According to leading scientists, theyre being poisoned by a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids (also known as neonics) or the "new DDT" as some scientists are calling them.
Just like DDT, the pesticides manufacturers claimed that the chemicals only harmed the organisms they were intended to harm. The rapid decline in bee populations proves otherwise.
If we dont stop using these chemicals soon, the bee population could be done for -- and so could all the fruits and vegetables that rely on bees for pollination.
But theres hope. Rep. Earl Blumenauer from Oregon just introduced a bill in Congress that would impose a ban on neonics until a scientific review and field studies prove no harm will come to bee populations from their use.
Passing this bill wont be easy. Big agriculture and chemical companies like Bayer are already lobbying hard to defeat it. Massive public support is the only chance the bees have. More than 100,000 Greenpeace supporters helped raise the profile of this issue last month. Together we now have a chance to save the bees before it is too late.
The numbers are shocking. Some 50,000 bees dropped dead a few weeks ago in Oregon after being exposed to the deadly pesticides. And last winter alone, 31 percent of beehives in the United States collapsed. Sobering stuff.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been dragging their feet on this issue for too long. EPA is currently conducting a study on neonics that they dont expect to finish until sometime in 2018! At this rate, there may not be any bees left by that time.
Policymakers in Europe pulled three commonly used neonics off the market earlier this year, citing the growing body science showing their harms to pollinators. Just a few weeks ago, the EU added another bee-harming pesticide to their restricted list.
Mark Floegel is the research director with Greenpeace USA. He has been working on public advocacy issues since 1987. Particular areas of issue expertise include: the effects of chlorinated chemicals on human health and the environment pertaining to pulp and paper mills; toxic waste incinerators; sustainable fisheries and forestry; renewable energy; acid rain, and sustainable agriculture.