Activists dressed as bees swarmed Parliament Square in London to show their support for a ban on pesticides.
"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.
Bayer of Germany and Sygenta of Switzerland, two European producers of the banned pesticides, have argued their products are not responsible for the bees' decline. However, a European Food Safety Authority report filed earlier this year found that the pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam presented a risk to bees when they are exposed to the dust, pollen or nectar of some treated crops. Called neonicotinoids, these pesticides will no longer be approved for use in European crops that include corn, rapeseed and cotton.
In March in the U.S., a group of environmentalists and beekeepers sued the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the use of two of the pesticides banned in the EU. Critics of the pesticides claim that while small doses may not be immediately toxic to bees, pesticides disrupt bees' ability to work with their colonies, eventually leading to weakened hives that cannot sustain themselves -- or, perhaps more detrimental to citizens, pollinate plants that are crucial to a sufficient and affordable food supply.
Regardless of the protests and lawsuits, U.S. policymakers have not stepped up to initiate legislation to protect the bees. With beekeepers around the nation reporting record-breaking bee losses this year (up to 40% or more) and major losses since 2006, action to protect honey bees is more urgent than ever.
Tell the EPA it's time to follow the science and protect bees by signing this Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) petition and sharing it with your friends! Save the Bees!
Read more on www.PANNA.org.