Looking for “friends” on Earth Day #47

This Earth Day (April 22), I’m looking for friends – friends of the Earth, that is – who share my passion to save the bees.

Here’s why…

Back during the first Earth Day in 1970, I was finishing up high school and taking Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to heart. It described how DDT entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals, including humans, and caused cancer and genetic damage.

Ms. Carson wrote about a single application killing insects for weeks and months and killing countless insects – not just the target ones – while remaining toxic even after dilution by rainwater. When her book was published in 1962, it triggered howls of indignation and push back from the chemical industry – an industry that had profited mightily from chemical pesticides and genetic modification of plants.

Almost fifty years later the indiscriminate use of neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides threatens wild and managed bees – insects of fundamental importance to you and me.

So we are in the same fight against the same multi-national corporations using the same tactics. They attack any science that questions them, use their clout to influence politicians and generally try to hide the truth from the public. They are organized and well funded.

But, they can be defeated. We got rid of DDT and Agent Orange.

We have every reason to believe we can get rid of neonics too!

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It isn’t easy. We need to treat every day like it’s Earth Day and get the message out to everyone, everywhere. Share our knowledge and change how we garden and shop. And insist on changes to how we regulate toxic chemicals.

The time has come for everyone to lend a hand, to do everything we can. You and I have to do our part. With your donation and support, I will work everyday to rid Canada of neonicotinoids. What better way to celebrate Earth Day #47 than with a donation that honours the spirit of Rachel Carson with a gift for the fight to ban neonics.

It’s a crucial time to support the campaign – governments are starting to move. So we can’t let up. We need to increase the pressure with more research and more advocacy right now.

Recently, the early movers, the European Commission (EC), proposed a complete ban of agricultural uses of the widely used bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides across Europe under draft regulations. The EC cites neonicotinoids’ “high acute risks to bees.” Back in 2013, three neonicotinoids were temporarily banned because of concerns about their high toxicity to bees. A vote by member states can happen as early as May 2017. And, France has moved ahead by passing a law banning neonics altogether as of September 2018.

Here in Canada, PMRA announced its intention to ban the longest used neonic, imidacloprid, because current levels of imidacloprid in aquatic environments pose risks to aquatic invertebrates. PMRA notes that, “Based on currently available information, the continued high volume use of imidacloprid in agricultural areas is not sustainable.”

And, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2017 assessment also found imidacloprid poses risks to aquatic organisms, and has concentrations in U.S. waters that threaten sensitive species. They’re currently detecting neonics in drinking water. This marks the first time that these insecticides have been found in water sourced straight from the tap.

So whether you are a new friend of the earth or one of the many supporters who already make this work possible, I hope you’ll consider a special gift to support our advocacy to ban neonicotinoids.

My best wishes to all friends of the earth as you celebrate Earth Day #47!

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the EarthBee's Signature

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