From the fuzzy bumblebees that our children chase in the garden to the industrious honeybees that sweeten our herbal tea, bees have woven an essential place in nature's mosaic. But bees are now caught in the toxic web of our climate crisis.
In recent years, bees have been under assault from pesticides, disease, unseasonably cold winters and the research-confounding Colony Collapse Disorder. And fighting the fight that keeps bees in our ecosystem are folks such as Liydia and Vladimir.
Quite simply, humans cannot live without honeybees, yet these remarkably complex creatures can easily exist without our species. Currently, honeybees are dying by the tens of billions around the globe.
The environmental movement progresses in fits and starts. We may win occasional battles, but I sometimes fear we are losing the war and our successes can feel like stopgaps until the next crisis. Are neonics that next crisis?
Why is the decline of pollinators one of our most critical environmental issues? Pollinators provide a crucial ecosystem service valued annually at $125 billion globally ($15-$20 billion in the U.S) in the pollination of our food crops.
Here in the U.S., we're still waiting for EPA to step up and take the kind of swift action that is needed to protect bees. But as pressure mounts on the agency, retailers have a chance to get ahead of the curve and begin to phase out neonicotinoids now.