EU Commits to Protecting Pollinating Insects
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.