Dear Next President,
I would like to address an overlooked issue that many see as small and unimportant, but could, if not overcome, have tremendous consequences. Bees face a threat in today's industrialized and urbanized world that is ominous to their continued existence. Their importance in our global society is underrated, for bees do much more than produce honey. They are an important part of our ecosystem and their pollination of plants is responsible for a third of our food intake. However, they are dying at an alarming rate. While bees are pollinating our crops, they encounter the toxic pesticides that we abundantly spray on our plants. Pesticides are designed to kill insects for the protection of the plant, but inadvertently kill bees. Strict pesticide regulations should be implemented immediately as their prohibition would greatly decrease the threat that bees face.
Bees play an important role in our ecosystem by fertilizing plants through pollination. Researchers at Michigan State University call bees the main insect pollinators. Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from plant to plant, resulting in fertilization and the production of seeds (Michigan State University). Bees spend their whole lives collecting pollen to support their offspring. While they are collecting pollen, they are also pollinating all the plants they land on. If bees were to become extinct, many plants would go unpollinated and die without creating new ones. This leads to fewer plants, including plants that wildlife depend on, as well as many agricultural crops.
Our food availability greatly depends on bees. According to Greenpeace, seventy out of the top one hundred food crops are pollinated by bees. Michigan State University research explains that many of our food sources, such as fruits and vegetables, are bee-pollinated. Grains are the only main vegetation that we eat that are not pollinated by bees, but by the wind. In the U.S., bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat, and on a global scale, bees supply ninety percent of the world’s nutrition (Greenpeace). This means that if bees were to go extinct, we would experience an extreme food shortage and potential widespread famine (Yale Environment 360). This type of global crisis is an impending possibility as bees are dying at an alarming rate due to the pesticides we are spraying on plants.
Pesticides are a leading cause of bee demise (Global Research). An article from the Centre for Research on Globalization indicates that bees are threatened with extinction, stating that in the past five years, thirty percent of the bee population has died. Biologists who have examined bee pollen have found over one hundred and fifty different chemical residues from pesticides that the bees were carrying (Global Research). This means that bees pick up the chemicals from pesticides when they pollinate plants. Chemical companies have been made aware of this but have chosen to ignore it because of how profitable selling pesticides to farmers is (Global Research). Elizabeth Grossman, a writer for Yale Environment 360, explains that many farmers in the U.S. spray a certain type of pesticide on their crops, called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoid pesticides are applied to the seeds of a plant, and the chemicals are still expressed later on, once the plant is fully grown (Yale Environment 360). Bees are killed by the toxicity of these pesticides when they pollinate the plants grown from the neonicotinoid-coated seeds. These toxic pesticides are very harmful to bees, and their prohibition would greatly assist bee survival.
The first step to saving the bees, is to ban bee-killing pesticides. However, because pesticides are not the only threat to bees, we must do everything we can to support the bees in our community. If we support local farms that do not use pesticides, we can lower the demand for these dangerous chemicals and increase the prevalence of pesticide-free plants that do not harm bees. We can also help bees locally by planting bee friendly plants, such as pollen producing flowers, in our own gardens. Buying local and raw honey helps beekeepers to maintain the cost of keeping bees, and encourages them to invest in more. Bees are an endangered species (CNN), and because our actions have led to this it is our responsibility to take action and prevent their extinction. They are dying at an alarming rate, meaning it is a time-sensitive issue. Banning pesticides toxic to bees is an imperative first step and I am asking you as the president to take this initiative to protect the bees. With your leadership on this issue, we will be one step closer to living in a world where our ecosystem, our food sources, and bees are no longer in danger.