Raleigh, NC - Bees are dying off at alarming rates across the U.S., threatening our food supply. This summer, young adults who work with Environment North Carolina will be visiting neighborhoods around the state to talk about how we can work together to save the bees.
"Many of the fruits and vegetables we consider staples of North Carolina will be in serious jeopardy if bees keep dying off at their current rate. Many people are worried that our bees are dying but they often don't know what they can do to help," said Michael McCammond, an Environment North Carolina canvasser who grew up in Morehead City, NC and attends Duke University. "I'm walking our neighborhoods this summer to not only educate people about this critical problem, but also to encourage them to act. That's the fun and rewarding part."
Worldwide, 100 crops provide 90 percent of the world's food, and bees pollinate 71 of them. Neonicotinoid pesticides, commonly referred to as "neonics," threaten bee populations and have been linked to the worldwide decline of bee colonies. Neonics are used in both the agricultural industry and for personal use in homes, gardens and parks. As non-farming regions have increasingly become the best habitat for bee colonies, Environment North Carolina seeks to address this common and problematic use of the pesticides by banning their consumer use and sale. Connecticut and Maryland have already banned the sale of neonics to consumers, and now Environment North Carolina is pushing to do the same here.
"No bees means no food, and the first step in saving the bees is getting rid of the pesticides that kill them," said Drew Ball, State Director for Environment North Carolina. "As an agricultural state, North Carolina should be a leader by banning the sale of neonics to consumers and banning the needless practice of coating seeds."
While other factors including global warming, habitat loss and disease contribute to bees dying, those problems require long-term solutions. Banning neonics is a step North Carolina can take today, so expect to see our hardworking team of canvassers in towns across the state, knocking on doors to raise awareness of this issue. Our team is also working to collect signatures for a petition to Governor Cooper to ban the consumer sale of neonics. An online version of this petition can be found on our website.
In the North Carolina General Assembly, Environment NC has pushed for House Bill 559/Senate Bill 496, the Pollinator Protection Act. The Pollinator Protection Act calls for a ban on consumer sale and use of neonics. Unfortunately, the bill has struggled to get traction this session. The need for more public awareness and additional support is precisely why we are out talking with fellow North Carolinians about this critical issue.
Environment North Carolina is a statewide citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.
Submitted by Drew Ball