Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

24 hours to ban Bayer’s bee poison

with 12 comments

It is nearly 50 years since Rachel Carson wrote here seminal book Silent Spring. Why are we humans so stupid that we do not learn even the most basic of lessons? It is time to put the environmental protection before commercial profit.

This email from Avaaz was sent to me almost 24 hours ago so, if you live in the EU, please sign the petition immedaitely. The politicians clearly want to do the right thing; please help ensure that big business (in this case Bayer) do not persuade them to fail to learn from the past.


Dear friends,

Bees around the world are dying off and Europe’s food watchdog just said certain pesticides are part of the problem.We’ve got 48 hours before key meetings — let’s get a 2-million-person swarm to save the bees.Click to take urgent action now:

Sign the petition

Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But in 48 hours the European Union could move to ban the most poisonous pesticides, and pave the way to a global ban that would save bees from extinction.

Four EU countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. Days ago the official European food safety watchdog stated for the first time that certain pesticides are fatally harming bees. Now legal experts and European politicians are calling for an immediate ban. But Bayer and other giant pesticide producers are lobbying hard to keep them on the market. If we build a huge swarm of public outrage now, we can push the European Commission to put our health and our environment before the profit of a few.

We know our voices count! Last year, our 1.2 million strong petition forced US authorities to open a formal consultation on pesticides — now if we reach 2 million, we can persuade the EU to get rid of these crazy poisons and pave the way for a ban worldwide. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone — Avaaz and leading MEPs will deliver our message ahead of this week’s key meeting in Brussels:

Bees don’t just make honey, they are vital to life on earth, every year pollinating 90% of plants and crops — with an estimated $40bn value and over one-third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.

Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations — some bee species are already extinct and some US species are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers and now the European Food Safety Authority is saying that toxic chemicals called neonicotinoid pesticides could be responsible for the bee deaths. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee-killing pesticides. But Bayer continues to export its poison across the world.

Now the issue is coming to a boil. EU parliamentarians are stepping up their pressure on the European Commission and key governments to push new legislation to ban the deadly pesticides, and we can offer them the public support they need to counter the powerful pesticide lobby. Sign the urgent petition to Europe’s leaders, then forward this email widely:

Our world is beset with threats to what makes it habitable, and to what fills it with wonder. The Avaaz community comes together to defend both — large or small. Whether winning a battle to keep the International Whaling Commission from sanctioning the murder of these giants, or saving bees, the tiny creatures upon which so much depends, we will come together and stand up for the world we all want.

With hope,

Luis, Ari, Alice, Iain, Ricken, David, Alaphia, and the Avaaz team


Pesticides pose danger to bees (European Voice)

Crop pesticides are ‘killing our bees’ – says MEP (Public Service Europe)

Death knell for nerve agent pesticides in move to save bees (Independent)

Give Bees a Chance! (The Greens European Free Alliance)

Studies fault Bayer in bee die-off (Christian Science Monitor)

Written by Martin Lack

30 January 2013 at 10:15

12 Responses

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  1. I get my honey from local producers it is has far more flavour and texture than the insipid brand names.

    Talking to them I learned about their concerns, including vandalism which is sad, and quizzed them on CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) having read this book:

    A Spring without Bees on visiting the associated web site Plan Bee Central,

    and this book:

    A World Without Bees and a web site of the same name A World Without Bees. The local bee keepers bowered my copy for some time.

    I saw a CountryFile (BBC) segment some two or more years ago and John Craven was very soft-footed with a Bayer rep’ as they talked in a field, I was rather disappointed as John let him off the hook rather.

    I have taken an interest in photographing Bumble Bees and have an excellent reference on those common, or once common in the UK.

    Lionel A

    30 January 2013 at 15:52

    • Thanks for all those links, Lionel. I too saw that Countryfile programme (but thought it was only last year). For those with the time, here is a 1-hour BBC (November 2012) documentary:

      Martin Lack

      30 January 2013 at 16:10

      • Yes Martin, they did a follow up more recently on Countryfile which was rather more nuanced, I think Tom Heap was one of the presenters on this case by then.

        Lionel A

        30 January 2013 at 17:49

        • Ah yes, that’s right! Now you mention it, I do recall that the interview I saw was conducted by Tom Heap (not John Craven).

          Martin Lack

          30 January 2013 at 18:47

  2. […] Reblogged, with permission, from Lack of Environment […]

  3. The Avaaz ban the bee killer petition has broken the 2,000,000 barrier, and the signatures are still coming in at a rate of knots:)

    In other news, the petition to ban ecocide in the EU — more important on the grounds that it’s not just about bees — is languishing in the doldrums. By my calculations, they’ll get their target of 1,000,000 signatures in about six years…😦


    30 January 2013 at 20:15

    • Ecocide it is then.😦

      Martin Lack

      30 January 2013 at 20:19

      • REG: Thank you, Loretta. On the nod. Siblings! [thump] Let us not be down-hearted. One total catastrophe like this is just the beginning! Their glorious deaths shall unite us all in a–

        Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Scene 10. Sorry, I don’t have the heart to go looking for the clip…


        30 January 2013 at 20:35

  4. Extremely detailled scientific studies in France and the USA have shown that supposedly safe for bees (!) insecticides (are not bees insects?), and pesticides make bees incapable of remembering important details of their lives, such as where food is, or how to get there. So “sublethal” effects lead to death just as well.

    Patrice Ayme

    31 January 2013 at 15:30

    • Thanks for the visit and the comment, Patrice.

      Martin Lack

      31 January 2013 at 15:58

      • You are welcome, Martin. My last essay, on climate, puts the onus on leaders, especially Obama, by calling to the fact this CO2 assault against the biosphere is the greatest moral catastrophe. Ever.

        Patrice Ayme

        31 January 2013 at 19:08

        • Thanks Patrice. Since you did not do so, I have taken the liberty of embedding a link to your post into your comment.

          Martin Lack

          31 January 2013 at 20:20

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