Honeybees pollinate many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we love. But beekeepers like me keep discovering our honeybees – whole hives of them – gone or dead.
This is no act of God. Our bees are being poisoned.
Scientists have linked a powerful class of pesticides called “neonics” to increases in bee die-offs. Due in part to these deadly toxic chemicals, 31% of hives in the United States collapsed this past winter alone.
Last month millions across Europe spoke up for the bees and pressured the European Union (EU) into imposing a two year ban on neonics, defeating the influential pesticide lobby. If we act together, we can convince the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do the same.
Shockwaves are being felt across the world’s wheat markets following the first-ever discovery of unauthorised genetically engineered wheat growing on a US farm – a development that gives further proof that GE crops cannot be controlled.
The discovery of Monsanto’s GE wheat, confirmed by US authorities, sparked alarm among Washington’s trading nations, pushed wheat prices lower and is threatening US exports. It should not be seen, however, as totally unexpected.
The GE wheat is a herbicide tolerant wheat (probably MON 71800) that Monsanto tested in fields across 16 states between 1998 and 2005. The wheat was never authorised and never commercialised because Monsanto withdrew its application in May 2004 following massive global opposition from farmers, consumers and environmentalists. Continue reading →
According to officials, the wheat is the same strand of a tested seed from Monsanto 10 years ago.
This discovery is problematic for US agriculture trade as the US exports half of its wheat crop, and several countries do not accept genetically engineered crops.
“This outbreak of GE wheat growing in the US confirms our concerns that GE crops cannot be controlled. This is the latest in a long line of incidents involving the contamination of our food supply with GE crops not approved for human consumption,” said Greenpeace International scientist Janet Cotter. ”The developers of GE wheat have repeatedly said that GE wheat will not contaminate conventional or organic wheat because it is predominantly self-pollinating (i.e. the pollen does not spread very far, unlike crops such as maize and oilseed rape). Despite these empty promises, GE contamination has happened.”
The Agriculture Department is investigating how the wheat got to the US, and how far it may have spread.
Aerial view of a crop circle made by local farmers and Greenpeace volunteers
There aren’t too many corporations more globally disliked than the sustainable agriculture company Monsanto. And by “sustainable agriculture,” they mean genetically engineering food crops with unknown chemicals leading to health and environmental risks including a jarring decline in global bee populations.
Being touched by the true Spirit of Aloha is a lifelong blessing. Hawaii is renowned worldwide as one of the top vacation destinations for many reasons. Each of the six most inhabited islands of this archipelago are equally unique in magnificence, with dramatic landscapes including lush, green mountains, sparkling streams, enchanted waterfalls, white sand beaches, majestic rainbows, an abundance of tropical flowers and mouthwatering fruits. Continue reading →
The Mexican government is likely to authorize the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) corn in Mexico. And until now Mexican citizens, with the help of organisations like Greenpeace, have managed to prevent agribusiness giants like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow AgroSciences from gaining approval in Mexico for genetically engineered corn.
The next time you see a bee buzzing around, it’s worthwhile remembering that much of the food we eat depends significantly on pollination these insects provide. But bees and other pollinators are declining globally, particularly in North America and Europe, putting this essential role in doubt.
In the US, the loss of 30-40% of commercial honeybee colonies since 2006 has been linked to “colony collapse disorder”, a syndrome characterized by disappearing worker bees. Since 2004, losses of honeybee colonies have left North America with fewer managed pollinators than at any time in the last 50 years. In recent winters, bees colony mortality in Europe has averaged about 20% (but up to 53% for some countries). Continue reading →
Greenpeace activists unfurl a huge banner reading 'Syngenta Pesticides Kill Bees' from the headquarters of the agrochemical company, Syngenta.
Brussels – A clear majority of EU countries have supported the European Commission proposal to temporarily ban three pesticides that are scientifically shown to be harmful to bees: imidacloprid and clothianidin, produced by chemical company Bayer, and thiamethoxam, produced by Syngenta. Continue reading →
Days before the key EU vote to ban bee-killer pesticides, Greenpeace is attending the annual general meeting (AGM) of Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland, in order to alert shareholders to the company’s role in the global decline in bee populations and ask them to challenge the chair of Syngenta board to stop marketing these deadly products.
Activists and beekeepers are demonstraing outside the shareholders’ assembly, while representatives of Greenpeace and the European Beekeeping Coordination are directing questions to the Syngenta board about the reputational and financial risk faced by the company in light of the probable ban. Last month, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a ban on bee-killer pesticides produced by Syngenta and Bayer.
Most of the food served on our tables greatly depends on insects such as bees and their crucial pollinating role in agriculture, but the use of pesticides is increasingly placing the future of bees and our farming at risk.
A scientific review of pollinators and agriculture in Europe released by Greenpeace today highlights the ecological and economic importance of healthy bee populations.
The study stresses the urgent need to ban bee-harming pesticides. Such a ban would be a crucial first step towards protecting bee colonies and safeguarding the process of pollination from insects – instrumental to agriculture and food production in Europe. Continue reading →