SAVE THE BEES, PLEASE.
UPDATE: The Canadian government has just announced that it will phase out the use of bee-harming pesticides starting in 2021.
We’re accustomed to happy endings. In books, movies, and t.v. shows. Most of us are optimistic that the day will be saved and everyone will live happily ever after. But what if there isn’t a happy ending this time? That’s the buzz if we don’t save the bees.
We count on bees to pollinate the plants that feed our communities. They’re responsible for ⅓ of the food we eat, from almonds, apples, and oranges, to tomatoes, cucumbers, coffee, and so much more. A world without coffee? No thanks. But more importantly, if bees go extinct that means global issues like food scarcity and mass hunger speed up too, double no thanks.
For over a decade, bees have been disappearing at alarming rates. The unprecedented change is called Colony Collapse Disorder and it’s mostly caused by climate change, habitat loss, and the use of harmful pesticides. Right now, Health Canada is reviewing the use of these bee-killing pesticides to determine whether or not their use should be banned entirely (like it was in the EU) or restricted. The decision is set to be made in December, so now’s the time to make a big impact.
So what can we do to save the bees? Raising awareness of the issue, getting creative and bee-ing the change in your home, office, or community is a good place to start. This World Honey Bee Day, we’re inspired by the changemakers that are writing a happy ending for bees, and in turn, all of us.
Here’s how you can help save the bees:
Bee the change.
The Wilderness Committee is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to protecting Canadian ecosystems. The group started this petition to save the bees and ban harmful pesticide use in Canada. Sign here to raise your voice.
Art can be a catalyst for change, just ask UK-based artist Louis Masai. Masai started painting murals to spread the word about bee extinction and Colony Collapse Disorder. Not only did his art gain awareness for the issue globally, he also recruited brands to help him amplify the message. His art focuses on other species too, not just bees. Did you know an estimated 50% of the earth’s species could become extinct by 2050? Let’s change the statistic.
Make your garden the bee’s knees.
Whether you’re a compact city dweller or a green thumb with a sprawling garden, you can easily make your space more cozy for bees. Sign-up for your free bee-friendly planting kit and be a bee ally next season. Giving bees a place to rest their wings and pollinate can make a big difference, especially in urban settings.
Pick a bee-friendly place to stay.
Want to do your part and travel smart? Stay at the Fairmont. As part of its Bee Sustainable initiative, the hotel chain hosts plant gardens that are healthy for bees. They also have bee hotels on some of their roofs to give bees a safe place to rest and nest. Did you know that Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York was the first hotel in the world to have a rooftop apiary? At its peak, 350,000 bees call its six hives home, producing about 450 pounds of honey each year. Sweet.
Become an urban beekeeper.
Heritage Bee Co. is a buzzworthy brand that inspires us. Not only are they a Certified B Corp which means they do their part to make a positive social, environmental, and community impact, they also make beekeeping accessible (and city-friendly). For a monthly fee, they deliver, set up, and maintain a beehive that you can call your own. Don’t have space? They can also host one for you on their property. They’ll extract the good stuff, raw, local, and delicious honey so you can benefit from something sweet while doing something good.
Be a bee-conscious consumer.
One of the easiest ways to make a difference is by supporting brands that have a bee care strategy in place.
When it comes to beauty, Burt’s Bees is leading the charge for the bees. It helps fund research grants for scientists to improve bee health through the Honey Bee Health Improvement Project. In North Carolina, they’re working to create pollinator-friendly forests through the North Carolina Bee Buffer Project. Volunteers create strips of pollinator plants in “buffer zones,” so bees can gain access to nutritious food. The bees help support crop pollination, while the buffers protect water, soil and offer natural pest control, making it an ideal solution for bees and farmers.
Beekeeper’s Naturals is a B Corp that’s serious about bee health. That’s why they use sustainable beekeeping methods. They’ve also partnered with two leading North American bee research institutions, The University of California Davis Bee Research Facility and the Canadian Honey Council. Together they’ve created a platform for giving, education, and awareness to save the bees.
If bee-friendly suds and ciders are what you’re after, these B Corps can make sure your next party is a good buzz:
Ernest Ciders supports local, sustainable beekeepers. Its Beekind project partners with organizations to support bee health and raise awareness of bee issues in Ontario. They also donate to Pollination Canada’s Seeds of Diversity program.
Beau’s Brewery is committed to creating sustainable and organic beer. Last year they collaborated with nonprofit, the David Suzuki Foundation to create Cross Pollination. It’s a farmhouse ale brewed with organic honey and bee balm. A portion of proceeds help support The Butterflyway Project, which helps establish networks of wildflower patches in neighbourhoods throughout Canada.
Getting involved to save the bees isn’t hard. If we all chip in and do a few of these actions, we can make a big collective impact. Most importantly if we spread the word and make being bee-friendly buzzworthy, maybe the bees will get a happy ending after all. Let’s keep up the good work to save the bees, please.