August 10, 2013
The PEN: Save the Bees Before We All Starve
By Joan Brunwasser
When bees suddenly starting dying in such alarming numbers at first it was a mystery.But as this has been studied, a strong correlation has been demonstrated with the use of a new generation of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which started in 2003.Recognizing this,the EU put in place a two year moratorium on the use of these new poisons because of this growing evidence. What makes these new chemical poisons so insidious is
JB: My guest today is The Pen, activist and policy advocate. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Pen. When we spoke last, back in January, 2012, we discussed The Last War Crime, the film you made about Dick Cheney. Right now, you’re headed in another but equally important direction. Can you tell our readers what you’re up to?
Pen: Thank you, Joan, and thank you for your own valiant work in covering all these vital issues. Fifty years ago, Silent Spring was published, which sounded the alarm about the reckless use of DDT in the environment. Today, we face an even bigger threat. In about 2005, honeybee colonies starting dying off dramatically. There had always been a 5-10% loss over each winter. But suddenly numbers starting jumping to 30% or more. And last year alone it was a 45% loss, the worst yet. In just one more year like this, we will no longer have enough honeybees to pollinate all our fruit crops, our nuts and many of our most familiar vegetables, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.
JB: I’ve been fascinated with bees ever since reading a Magic School Bus In a Beehive book to my kids. I don’t think that people have any idea of the gravity of the issue. What does it all mean, Pen? And why is it happening? Tell us everything we need to know.
Pen: When bees suddenly starting dying in such alarming numbers at first it was a mystery. But as this has been studied, a strong correlation has been demonstrated with the use of a new generation of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which started in 2003. Recognizing this, the European Union earlier this year put in place a two year moratorium on the use of these new poisons because of this growing evidence. What makes these new chemical poisons so insidious is they are systemic in the plants. They are literally in the nectar on which the bees feed, which the bees then concentrate.
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