The Ecologist


More articles about
Related Articles

Bees: the battle is not over yet

Rob Drake-Knight reports on a unique collaboration between an environmental organisation and an eco-fashion label who together aim to raise greater awareness of the plight of bees.....

Bees pollinate 71 of our top 100 food crops. Their population is crashing and therefore so is their ability to continue to pollinate our crops; it's an environmental emergency on a global scale and is affecting our already stretched food supplies. And the reason for their decline? Neonicotinoids.

To protect them from pests, crops are sprayed with pesticides such as Neonicotinoids. A side effect of this ‘protection' from pests is the poisoning and killing of Bees; in fact the farmers that use Neonicotinoids are shooting themselves in the foot. By protecting their crops from pests they are inadvertently killing the animals that perpetuate the survival of those crops in the first place.

To put the impact into a  financial context; the work of pollinating bees is valued at £430m a year and the cost of replicating their pollination manually would cost £1.8 billion.

In April 2013 the EU Commission banned the use of Neonicotinoids for two years - great news you might think. A solution to the  issue? Bee populations will rise and everything will be hunky dory? Well, it's a complicated, highly politicised subject.

In January of this year the European Food Safety Authority report stated; ‘Neonicotinoids pose an "unacceptable" threat to bees and that they should not be applied to crops that are attractive to bees'. Then the two year ban was introduced. However, the UK actively lobbied against the introduction of a ban, and it has been suggested that this is due to a link between UK government and certain companies that produce pesticides. With financial and political pressures and bad science posing a risk of a re-introduction of Neonicotinoids the future of Bees is still uncertain.

We can - and must - all act to help push through a full ban. Eco-fashion company Rapanui are working on a campaign with the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) to raise awareness of the plight of Bees and completely eradicate the use of Neonicotinoids.

We have produced a t-shirt to raise funds to support the campaign which aims to;

• Encourage the government to adopt a Pollinator Action Plan to protect pollinators.

• End the use of neonicotinoids in industry, in their supply chains and practices.

• Raise public awareness of the value of pollinators to the UK economy and promote public action

The bees campaign has been supported by a host of celebrities including chef Ainsley Harriott and ‘Lock Stock' actor Jason Flemyng. The t-shirt features a worker bee wearing a gas mask, representing the poisoned conditions in which they work and was created using 100% pesticide free, organic materials in a factory powered by wind energy using ethical labour. £5 from each Save the Bees t-shirt sold goes direct to EJF to support this campaign. 

 Add to StumbleUpon

Bee protection: US in spotlight as EU bans pesticides
European commission vote highlights threat to the world's food supply from the decline of bees and other pollinators
Why bees & biodiversity benefit from indigenous wildflowers
Filling your garden with wildflowers helps honeybees and butterflies, and creates a relaxed mood. And, from the Easton Walled Garden to Sissinghurst, there's plenty of inspiration
Bees with Alzheimer’s – the price of pesticides
Pat Thomas on why me must continue to fight against excessive pesticide use, for the sake of both humans and bees.......
Frontline Online: What's killing our bees?
The Ecologist's Lorna Howarth reports on news and action from the environmental frontline....
Grave threat of pesticides to bees' billion-pound bonanza is now clear
Replacing the pollination of food crops that the UK's bees perform for free would cost £1.8bn. With hard data now linking pesticides to bees' rapid decline, there is no excuse for inaction, says Damian Carrington


Previous Articles...


Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...




Help us keep the Ecologist platform going

Since 2012, the Ecologist has been owned and published by a small UK-based charity called the Resurgence Trust. We work hard to support the kind of independent journalism and comment that we know Ecologist readers enjoy but we need your help to keep going. We do all this on a very small budget with a very small editorial team and so joining the Trust or making a donation will show us you value our work and support the platform which is currently offered as a free service.

Join The Resurgence TrustDonate to support the Resurgence Trust