Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides
It looks as though Europe could be seeing the end of harmful pesticides as soon as this year. This is good news for bee conservation and the environment in general. Bees are vital for the homeostasis of the Earth, and without them, we wouldn't have many of the foods we eat today. Bees work hard to pollinate flowers on fruit and vegetable plants making it possible for the fruit to mature and grow properly. If there are no bees, there can be no natural pollination, if natural pollination can't occur, there won't be healthy fruits and veggies to eat, and without healthy food, humans and other animals will not survive. It can be shocking to many people to realize that most of the food they eat is here because of bees, and devastating to understand that without bees, the world would not be a very sustainable place to live in. That's why over the past few years there have been so many efforts to keep the bee population growing or to stop using harmful chemicals that kill them off. One of the chemicals that is known to harm bees is called neonicotinoids. It's been used on crops to ward off other pests for over 20 years, but more recently it's being discovered that it's creating serious harm to the bees.
The Bombus affinis bees have been added to the endangered species list in the US. These bees are responsible for pollinating tomatoes, cranberries, blueberries and clover, in fact they are one of the only pollinators of tomatoes. There are ways to allow plants to self-pollinate, but this isn't the way nature intended. Scientific studies have been done that have concluded the neonicotinoid pesticides to have such high levels of toxicity that they shouldn't be allowed to remain on the market or allowed to be used on crops. The farmers of these crops currently have to adhere to strict rules to implement these pesticides into their crops. If the neonicotinoids were banned, then farmers would also have a bit more say in what they do with their land and their crops. They could try out different, more natural methods of pest reduction that would be healthier for the plants and for the environment, as well as for the people consuming the food that comes from these plants. It's been shown that the levels of pesticides used on different crops could be causing digestive issues and even food intolerances. It may not actually be that people are intolerant to certain foods, but the chemicals that were used in the production of them.
Back in 2013, the European Union created a temporary ban on the pesticides, but now through scientific testing, they want to implement a permanent ban on these chemicals forever. The pesticide producers and groups advocating the use of these neonicotinoids don't agree with these bans, saying that this has become a political issue because banning these chemicals could have drastic effects on the harvests of the crops leaving people without food. Throughout history, other ways of controlling pests have been implemented, so maybe they could try to use some of these methods again. Permaculture gardening and farming uses natural methods to ward off pests by planting certain plants together to create something to divert the pests from the fruit or vegetable producing plants. It's just another reason for people to start planting their own gardens and growing their own food. Even by having a small garden plot you're giving the bees a great environment to thrive in. You can also look into city or rural programs to keep bees on your property to increase the bee population. But ultimately, it's going to be most important to stop using all of these chemicals altogether.***
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