Dear friends across Europe,
In less than 36 hours, European countries will vote on plans to ban bee killing pesticides, but Bayer and other chemical giants are out in full forcetrying to protect their profits from needed safety regulation. Our governments are buckling under the pressure — let’s counteract the corporate bullying with a flood of messages to our Agriculture Ministers to save the bees! Send a message now:
In less than 36 hours, the European Union will vote on whether to ban toxic pesticides that are killing bees around the world and threatening our food supply. The big corporations profiting from this vile stuff are lobbying furiously to defeat the ban and we’ve just heard that key governments are about to cave — unless they feel the sting of public opinion!
Bees are disappearing around the world at alarming rates. Because bees pollinate our crops, experts are warning that these mass deaths pose a catastrophic threat to our food supply. Thankfully, numerous studies have now identified the likely culprit: a certain class of noxious pesticides. An official EU report found that banning them could solve the problem, but pesticide giant Bayer is trying to convince our leaders to ignore the science to protect their profits.
Over 2.5 million of us have signed the petition that made this vote possible — and now it’s time to tell our politicians that they must side with science to save the bees this week. Let’s flood the inboxes of our Agriculture Ministers, drown out the corporate lobby, and make sure our governments saves the bees and our food — click below to send a message then share this urgent campaign with your friends:
Bees don’t just make honey, they are vital to life on earth, every year pollinating 90% of plants and crops and helping to generate an estimated $40bn value and over one-third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.
Last month the European Food Safety Authority gave the most compelling evidence yet that toxic chemicals called neonicotinoid pesticides could be responsible for the bee deaths. Italy has banned some uses of these bee-killing pesticides and has already seen it’s bee populations come back, but Bayer and Sygenta are lobbying to prevent a Euro-wide ban, for fears it would harm their global business. It seems they’re close to having the support of the UK, Spain, and Germany, who want to protect their biggest chemical corporations.
Now the issue is coming to a boil. Just weeks ago, Avaaz delivered a petition signed by over 2.5 million of us to the European Commission, who proposed a ban days later. EU parliamentarians are stepping up their pressure and several other European governments have announced plans to push ahead with new legislation to ban the deadly pesticides on their own. So we have the power to win this, but we need one final push to overcome the pesticide lobby. Send a message telling our governments to support the ban now and then share with others:
Our world is beset with threats to what makes it habitable, and to what fills it with wonder. The Avaaz community comes together to defend both — large or small. Whether winning a battle to keep the International Whaling Commission from sanctioning the murder of these giants, or saving bees, the tiny creatures upon which so much depends, we will come together and stand up for the world we all want.
Iain, Marie, Pascal, Emma, Ricken, Alaphia, and the Avaaz team
EU Proposes ban on bee killer (The Telegraph)
Bayer slams draconian EU plans to ban neonicotinoids (Farmers weekly)
Government to ignore European ban on neonicotinoid pesticides (Independent)
The Battle to ban bee killers (Avaaz Daily Briefing)
Studies fault Bayer in bee die-off (Christian Science Monitor)
March 2013. Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is questioning why Owen Paterson, the UK Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to delay the European Commission’s proposed restrictions on three neonicotinoid insecticides in an EU vote on the 15th March: here.
Update: see here.
Fruit growers and solitary bees: here.
- Pro-honeybee Internet petition (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Owen Paterson set to scupper plans to ban pesticides linked to bee harm (guardian.co.uk)
- Stop bee-killing pesticides, Dutch parliament says (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Neonicotinoids threaten bees, new report (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- EU Commission Takes Steps To Suspend Bee-Toxic Pesticides (prnewswire.com)
- EU proposes to ban insecticides linked to bee decline (guardian.co.uk)
- EU Says World’s Most Popular Pesticide Causing Massive Honeybee Deaths (organicauthority.com)
- Who Will Save The Honey Bee? EU Mulls Pesticide Ban While US Set to Approve More (wakingtimes.com)
- A Deadly Disorder at the EPA (inthesetimes.com)
- Pesticide ban: food security now or later? | Editorial (guardian.co.uk)
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An important, timely blog from Dear Kitty about saving honey bees in Europe! For more information read on:
I hope this will help the bees.
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Dear amazing Avaaz community,
We did it — Europe just banned bee-killing pesticides!! Mega-corporations like Bayer threw everything they had at this, but people-power, science and good governance came out on top!!
Avaaz bee die in, Germany
Bee “die in” at Bayer’s headquarters, Cologne
Vanessa Amaral-Rogers from the specialist conservation organisation Buglife, says:
?It was a close vote, but thanks to a massive mobilisation by Avaaz members, beekeepers, and others, we won! I have no doubt that the floods of phonecalls and emails to ministers, the actions in London, Brussels and Cologne, and the giant petition with 2.6 million signers made this result possible. Thank you Avaaz, and everyone who worked so hard to save bees!?
Bees pollinate two thirds of all our food — so when scientists noticed that silently, they were dying at a terrifying rate, Avaaz swung in to action, and we kept on swinging until we won. This week?s victory is the result of two years of flooding ministers with messages, organizing media-grabbing protests with beekeepers, funding opinion polls and much, much more. Here?s how we did it, together:
Keeping France strong. In January 2011, 1 million people sign our call to France to uphold its ban on deadly neonicotinoid pesticides. Avaaz members and beekeepers meet the French agriculture minister and fill the airwaves, pressing him to face down fierce industry lobbying and keep the ban, sending a strong signal to other European countries.
Bernie in Brussels
Bernie, the huge inflatable bee, helps deliver our 2.6m strong petition to Brussels
Tackling industry head on. Bayer has faced Avaaz and allies protesting at its last three annual meetings. The pesticide giant’s managers and investors are welcomed by beekeepers, loud buzzing, and massive banners with our 1 million plus call on them to suspend use of neonicotinoids until scientists reviewed their effect on bees. Avaaz even makes a presentation inside the meeting, but Bayer says ‘no’.
Making the science count. In January the European Food Safety Agency finds that three pesticides pose unacceptable risks to bees, and we jump in to ensure Europe’s politicians respond to their scientific experts. Our petition quickly grows to 2 million signatures. After many talks with EU decision-makers, Avaaz delivers our call right to the EU HQ in Brussels. Later that same day, the Commission proposes a two-year ban!
March of beekeepers
Beekeepers help deliver our massive petition to Downing Street
Seizing our chance. The battle to save the bees heats up in February and March. Across the EU, Avaaz members are ready to respond as all 27 EU countries decide whether to welcome or block the proposal. When farming giants UK and Germany say they won’t vote yes, Avaaz publishes public opinion polls showing huge majorities of Brits and Germans in favour of the ban. Avaaz members also send almost half a million emails to EU Agriculture Ministers. Apparently afraid of dealing with citizens rather than industry lobbyists, UK minister Owen Paterson complains of a ?cyber-attack?, which journalists turn into a story in our favour! And then comes Bernie — our 6 metre bee in Brussels — a powerful visual way to deliver our petition as negotiations enter the final stages. Journalists flock to Bernie, and we hear we’ve helped get the Spanish ministry to look harder at the science and shift position . But we didn’t get the majority we needed to pass the ban.
Bernie in The Independent
Bernie the bee featured in The Independent
Turning the red light green. In April the bee-saving proposal is sent to an Appeals Committee, giving us a glimmer of hope if we can switch a few more countries’ positions. In the final sprint, Avaaz teams up with groups including Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth and Pesticides Action Network, plus beekeepers and famous bee-loving fashion designers to organise an action outside the UK Parliament. In Germany, beekeepers launch their own Avaaz petition to their government, signed by over 150,000 Germans in just two days and delivered in Cologne soon after. More phone calls rain down on ministries in different capitals as Avaaz responds to a last-minute wrecking amendment by Hungary, and positions Bernie the bee again in Brussels. Pesticide companies buy adverts in the airport to catch arriving officials, and take to the airwaves suggesting other measures such as planting wild flowers. But their slick messaging machine is ignored, first Bulgaria then — the big prize — Germany switch their stances and this week we win, with over half of EU countries voting for the ban!
It?s been a long haul, to get this win, and it wouldn’t have been possible without scientists, specialists, sympathetic officials, beekeepers and our campaign partners. We can be proud of what we’ve helped to accomplish together.
One strong bees advocate, Paul de Zylva, head of the Pesticides and Pollinators Unit at Friends of the Earth said:
“Thanks to millions of Avaaz members who mobilised online and in the streets. Without a doubt Avaaz’s massive petition and creative campaigning helped push this over the edge, complementing our work and that of other NGOs.”
It’s time to celebrate this breathing space for one of the earth’s most precious and important creatures. But the EU ban is only in place for 2 years pending further review. And around the world bees continue to die from the pesticides which weaken and confuse them, as well as from loss of habitat as we plough up and build over the countryside. In Europe and across the world there’s lots of work to do to ensure sound science guides our farming and environmental policies. And we’re just the community for the job. 🙂
With hope and happiness,
Ricken, Iain, Joseph, Emily, Alex, Michelle, Aldine, Julien, Anne, Christoph and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS: Let’s keep this going — chip in to ensure we can launch rapid-fire, multi-tactic campaigns on the issues we all care about: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/bees_victory/?bHFhfab&v=24669
PPS: Many Avaaz campaigns — like the German beekeeper one this month — are started by individuals or groups of members. Just click here to see how easy it is to start yours right now: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?rba13
The bees story, and Avaaz’s role, have been mentioned in hundreds of articles. Here’s a small selection:
EU bans pesticides over bee fears (Reuters)
Bee-harming pesticides escape proposed European ban (The Guardian)
EU says it will push through better bee protections after members disagree over pesticides (Washington Post)
Save the bees: Protesters swarm around Parliament in support of pesticides ban (Mirror)
Historic vote to ban neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for huge decline in bees (The Independent)
EU to ban pesticides linked to bee decline (Al Jazeera)
European Union imposes ban on pesticides linked to bee deaths (RFI)
EU to ban bee-killing pesticides (EU Observer)
This is a Dutch Greempeace video about saving the bees.
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