Let's give bees a chance

In recent years, beekeepers report they’re losing on average 30% of all honeybee colonies each winter — twice the loss considered economically tolerable.

Image: Qypchak/ Wikimedia Creative Commons

We rely on bees to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of most of the world’s food. Imagine no almonds, fewer apples and strawberries, less alfalfa to feed dairy cows, and the list goes on.

Image: Flickr User: Fried Dough - Creative Commons

6,000 times more toxic than DDT

Scientists point to several causes behind the problem, including global warming, habitat loss, parasites and a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics).

When seeds are treated with neonics, the chemicals work their way into the pollen and nectar of the plants — which, of course, is bad news for bees and other pollinators. Worse, for the bees and for us, neonics are about 6,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT.

Just one example: After a nearby farm planted corn seeds coated with neonics in 2013, a farmer named Dave Schuit lost 37 million of his bees. “Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” said Schuit.

Image: Waugsberg / Wikimedia Creative Commons

We're up against big agrichemical companies

Given the consequences for our farms and our food, you’d think we’d be doing all we can to protect bees and other pollinators from threats like neonics.  

Instead, big agrichemical companies like Dow Chemical, Bayer and Syngenta are fighting to prevent bans. And Syngenta has asked federal regulators for permission to use even larger quantities of these pesticides — as much as 400 times more than currently allowed. 

Some governments aren’t letting the big chemical companies push them around. Alarmed by the role these chemicals are playing in bee colony collapse disorder, the European Union has banned several of them; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to phasing them out on the public lands they manage; and Seattle, Minnesota and Oregon have all agreed to take some form of action against neonics. 

Some companies are taking action as well. Home Depot and BJ’s Wholesale Club have taken steps to limit plants treated with neonics, label the plants or both. More than 100 businesses sent a letter to the White House urging the Obama administration to do more to protect bees and other pollinators against toxic pesticides. And we’ll continue to urge other retailers to phase out neonics and do more to warn gardeners and other customers.

In order to restore bee populations to health, however, we need the EPA to step up and lead. 

Image: Justin Leonard / Flickr User-Creative Commons

Together, we can give bees a chance 

Right now, we’re letting big agrichemical companies use more of the chemicals that are known to kill bees just as we’re in the midst of an unsustainable die-off in bee populations. That has to change. Now.

Join us in calling on the EPA to declare a nationwide moratorium on the use of bee-killing neonics.

 

Issue updates

Report | Environment New York

Less Shelter from the Storm

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News Release | Environment New York

Less Shelter from the Storm

After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently pummeled our coasts, Environment New York warned that pending budget proposals from the Trump administration and Congress threaten key programs that protect our communities from storm- related impacts.  The group documented threats to programs that prevent or curb flooding, sewage overflows and leaks from toxic waste sites. Environment New York also called for preventing more global warming-fueled extreme weather in the future.

“We believe in protecting our wetlands as they improve water quality, assist in flood control, provide habitat for birds and fish and only add to the recreational activities available to residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Kelly B. Decker of Port Jervis, N.Y., in Rep. Maloney’s district.

“If there is any lesson to be learned from these devastating hurricanes, it’s that New York deserves better shelter from the storms,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “Rather than protecting our most vulnerable communities, budget proposals on the table in Washington, D.C. right now threaten coastal resiliency, remove protections for flood-absorbing wetlands, neglect funding for stormwater and sewage treatment, and expose more Americans to toxic chemicals,” Leibowitz added.

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News Release | Environment New York

New “back to school” item for parents: toolkit to 'Get the Lead Out of schools’ drinking water

With “back to school” in full swing this week, Environment New York today offered a new toolkit to help parents, teachers, and administrators Get the Lead Out of schools’ drinking water.  Citing a lack of accurate information on lead contamination in water and how schools should prevent it, Environment New York is encouraging parents and teachers to put the new toolkit on their “back to school” reading list. 

“Our kids deserve safe drinking water at school,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York.  “We want to give parents, teachers, and school administrators the tools they need to ‘get the lead out.’” 

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Report | Environment New York Research & Policy Center

“BACK TO SCHOOL” TOOLKIT

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News Release | Environment New York

President Trump Fails to Protect Our Water

“President Trump's order turns the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency on its head: Instead of protecting the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans, he is telling the EPA to stop protecting these waters from polluters. It defies common sense, sound science and the will of the American people.” -Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York

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