Bees In The Balance

 

Over the last few years wild bees have been disappearing from all the most important farmlands in the United States including: California’s Central Valley, the Midwest’s corn belt, and the Mississippi River valley. After significant amounts of research scientists began to cite the widespread use of pesticides in industrial agriculture (notably neonicotinoids), as playing a major role in their demise. 


 

Under the Obama administration, the first necessary steps to offer pollinators some measure of life support was initiated. Democrats began to author bills designed to increase funding to improve cooperation among federal agencies supporting pollinator health. They also set goals for the USDA and other agencies regarding the conservation and enhancement of 3 million acres of forage habitat, offering financial incentives for farmers to plant bee-friendly plants such as wildflowers and native grasses, and to use natural predators, instead of pesticides, as a means to ward off pests.

 

 

But now the Trump administration has reversed the Obama-era ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and GM crops on national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted. The new policy simply ignores the obvious existential connection between health and vitality of pollinators and the health and vitality of the planet and humanity.

More broadly, Trumps’ policy threatens global food security. Roughly 75% of global food crops depend on pollinators for cultivation. If bees and butterflies continue to suffer die-offs at current rates, it will eventually lead to a global food shortages which will result, inevitably, in global conflict.