Saturday, June 21, 2014

Will We Destroy Food - The Bees? - 2

The destruction of American bee colonies is a threat to the American food supply.

It is a national security concern.

This blog has considered the issue since 2009 (Will We Destroy Food - The Bees?, Will We Destroy Food - The Salmon?, Ice & Bees Gone, Rain, & Ocean Rivers).

Now, the President has issued an official memo directing quick and ongoing response to the threat and the crisis:

MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES SUBJECT: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.

Pollinator losses have been severe. The number of migrating Monarch butterflies sank to the lowest recorded population level in 2013-14, and there is an imminent risk of failed migration. The continued loss of commercial honey bee colonies poses a threat to the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States, which could have profound implications for agriculture and food. Severe yearly declines create concern that bee colony losses could reach a point from which the commercial pollination industry would not be able to adequately recover. The loss of native bees, which also play a key role in pollination of crops, is much less studied, but many native bee species are believed to be in decline. Scientists believe that bee losses are likely caused by a combination of stressors, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, lack of genetic diversity, and exposure to pesticides.

Given the breadth, severity, and persistence of pollinator losses, it is critical to expand Federal efforts and take new steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels. These steps should include the development of new public-private partnerships and increased citizen engagement. Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following ...

(The White House Press Secretary, emphasis added). The memo goes on to name members of a task force to get cracking within 180 days.

Good move (hope it is not too late).

The previous post in this series is here.


Randy said...

The media may be wising up: Link

Anonymous said...

Too late by decades! Rachel Carson's warnings were not heeded by industry and we've done more and more damage with developing the radiation industry, genetic engineering and fracking to "undo" in the short time climate change is constraining us to.

Homo moronus walking blindfolded in the dark over a cliff.