EU Com­mits to Pro­tect­ing Pol­li­nat­ing In­sects

Trillions - - Contents -

With many pol­li­nat­ing in­sects faced with ex­tinc­tion, the EU has fi­nally stepped up and on June 1st passed a new ini­tia­tive to ad­dress the prob­lem.

EU En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sioner Kar­menu Vella stated, “Pol­li­na­tors are an ex­cel­lent ecosys­tem health check. If they are not do­ing well, we can be sure bio­di­ver­sity in gen­eral is not do­ing well and this is bad news. We are al­ready do­ing a lot to stop the de­cline of pol­li­na­tors in the EU Natura 2000 net­work of pro­tected ar­eas. But with the wor­ry­ing sta­tus of pol­li­nat­ing in­sects, par­tic­u­larly of bees and but­ter­flies, it is clear we have to step up our game. This is what this ini­tia­tive is all about.”

EU Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan said, “Our farm­ers’ fu­ture and the well-be­ing of our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties de­pend on healthy ecosystems with rich bio­di­ver­sity. The tire­less work of in­sect pol­li­na­tors en­ables that rich­ness. While their work comes for free, it is in­valu­able in main­tain­ing the flow of goods and ser­vices from na­ture that un­der­pin our ex­is­tence. We need to act ur­gently to stop their de­cline.”

In May, EU law­mak­ers banned the out­door use of three neon­i­coti­noid pes­ti­cides harm­ful to bees in par­tic­u­lar.

In the EU alone, four in five crops and wild­flower species de­pend on in­sect pol­li­na­tion for their sur­vival. Nearly $18 bil­lion in agri­cul­tural out­put is di­rectly de­pen­dent on pol­li­na­tors, as is a large por­tion of hu­man­ity's food sup­ply.

In the U.S. and other coun­tries, pes­ti­cide use is in­creas­ing and Trump's EPA and USDA are busy gut­ting reg­u­la­tions that pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and hu­man health. They are also en­sur­ing that or­ganic stan­dards are weak­ened.

You can do your part by grow­ing as much of your own food as pos­si­ble, shop­ping at lo­cal farm­ers mar­kets and buy­ing only from grow­ers who do not use syn­thetic chem­i­cals. Buy­ing or­gan­i­cally grown pro­duce is im­por­tant and it also helps to eat lower on the food chain with a more plant-based diet.

Plant­ing milk­weed pro­vides es­sen­tial habi­tat for Monarch but­ter­flies and hav­ing other flow­er­ing plants that blos­som at dif­fer­ent times can help sus­tain other lo­cal pol­li­na­tors.

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