Neonicotinoids kill bees, specifically their hives, and the EU just expanded their ban on neonicotinoids to help protect the world’s dying bee populations. Back in 2013 the EU banned pesticides with neonicotinoids in them when spraying pesticides on plants and flowers that attracted bees. That meant that the deadly chemicals could still get into the ecosystem and kill hives of bees, and researchers found that the best solution to protecting bees would be an outright ban on neonicotinoids. By this end of this year the total ban will be put in place.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety, welcomed Friday’s vote: “The commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from Efsa. Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”
The EU decision could have global ramifications, according to Prof Nigel Raine, at the University of Guelph in Canada: “Policy makers in other jurisdictions will be paying close attention to these decisions. We rely on both farmers and pollinators for the food we eat. Pesticide regulation is a balancing act between unintended consequences of their use for non-target organisms, including pollinators, and giving farmers the tools they need to control crop pests.”
People in Ontario will have nicer grass to roll around in next year – except on golf courses and farmer’s fields. No, I have no idea how using pesticides on a golf courses aren’t classified as a cosmetic use, although golf course might still be subject to the law (I don’t know yet). The main thrust of the legislation is to ban the sale of consumer pesticides, municipal bans could be circumvented by buying the pesticides and using them anyway. Now that loophole will be closed.
The provincewide ban is aimed at replacing a patchwork of local pesticide bylaws, but Ontario farmers will be exempt. There’s no word yet if the province also plans to exempt golf courses from the ban.
The Conservatives and New Democrats said Monday they would likely support the legislation, but they first want to make sure the ban will actually help the environment and isn’t just a public relations move by the Liberal government.
“I think our inclination is to probably support it, but at the same time we want to hear from the folks who are experts in this area, and whether they think it’s all politics or whether there is going to be some meaningful benefit to the environment,” said Opposition Leader Bob Runciman.
In Oregon farmers are working with a class of 4th graders to educate them on natural alternatives to pesticides. For earth day this year the farmers from the Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers will release 10,000 ladybugs that will eat the bad things that hurt the farmers’ crops.
Because when you consider the fact that most people have never had the opportunity to watch tens of thousands of insects working together towards a positive, natural result I think it becomes obvious the kind of impression it will leave. And a lasting impression provides their teachers with a great opportunity to teach math, art, literature, social studies and science to them in various ways around the theme of environmental sustainability.