Scientists point to several causes for bee die-offs, including bee-killing pesticides, the loss of good habitat, disease and our changing climate. While we’re working to address each of these problems, the three things we can do right now to save the bees are to plant more pollinator-friendly plants; stop the use of bee-killing pesticides in parks, wildlife refuges and other places bees should be safe; and promote sustainable, less pesticide-reliant agricultural practices.
1. Planting more pollinator-friendly plants: The great thing about habitat is that small spaces can do wonders. Parks, roadsides and government lawns are all perfect for wildflowers and pollinator-friendly plants. We’re calling on cities, counties, our state and the federal government to commit to planting wildflowers and other plants that benefit bees.
2. Protecting safe havens for bees: There are some places where bees should be safe. State parks, wildlife refuges and national parks should be free of bee-killing pesticides. Further, bee-killing pesticides have no place in our urban landscapes and backyards, as our urban environs have increasingly become important for bees. Already, Connecticut, Maryland and Vermont have banned the sale of bee-killing pesticides to consumers. Illinois should do the same.
3. Reducing reliance on pesticides: We’re rethinking the overall use of pesticides used to grow America’s food, and we’re working to support a food system that is far less chemical-intensive. More sustainable farming practices are available, and we’re working to bring them to scale and make them commonplace. At the federal level, the next Farm Bill will be the perfect opportunity to push for more sustainable policy changes. And states and communities are already stepping into the fray and considering bills and policies to move farming toward sustainability.