(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2016) Another campus, Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota has pledged to become a designated BEE Protective campus. This recognition comes from Beyond Pesticides’ and Center for Food Safety’s BEE Protective Campaign, which aims to protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides like neonicotinoids. As part of its commitment, Macalester College will no longer use neonicotinoids on its campus grounds. Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides known to have severe impacts on bee populations.
Macalester is now one of several campuses around the country that have pledged to protect pollinators and move away from using harmful pesticides that are toxic to these beneficial creatures. Just last month, Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio pledged to become a BEE Protective campus. In addition to these campuses, several local communities and states are also taking a stand for pollinators by passing policies that restrict the use of bee-toxic pesticides. For more on how your campus or student group can support pollinators and become BEE Protective, visit the BEE Protective Ambassadors webpage.
“Macalester’s new resolution to help protect pollinators fits well with our Sustainability Plan and Sustainable Landscaping Master Plan. I’m glad that our college has this opportunity to play a role in the fight to keep bees and other important pollinators safe from harmful pesticides,” said Suzanne Savanick Hansen, Macalester College’s Sustainability Manager.
One in every three bites of food depends on bees for pollination, and the annual value of pollination services worldwide is estimated at over $125 billion. In the United States, pollination contributes $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides known to have acute and chronic effects on honey bees and other pollinators, and are considered a major factor in bee population declines and poor health. These chemicals have been shown to impair bee navigation, foraging and learning behavior, as well as suppress their immune system making them more susceptible to parasites and disease.
Resolving to be a BEE Protective campus complements other pollinator awareness initiatives at Macalester. The college recently brought honey bee colonies to its Ordway Field Station in an effort to educate students and others about bees and their imperiled status. Joining the BEE-Protective Campaign is another step Macalester has taken to make the campus and community more sustainable and committed to food ethics. In 2012, Macalester signed the Real Food Campus Commitment, joining other institutions of higher education in accepting the Real Food Challenge; a national initiative to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources by 2020. Also in 2015, the College signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, an effort to make campuses more sustainable and address global warming.
The BEE Protective Ambassador project taps into enthusiastic environmental activists on college campuses throughout the country wishing to make a positive impact on the health of local pollinators and other wildlife. By creating meaningful change at the University level, Ambassadors gain important experience in environmental advocacy, which will undoubtedly expand and grow as students graduate from college and continue to be environmental activists while moving through life.
Take Action: Beyond Pesticides provides campus organizations with all of the educational materials needed to advance meaningful and significant change in communities. If you know of an individual or campus organization that would be interested in taking part in this campaign to protect pollinators and save our bees, please urge them to become a “BEE Protective Ambassador,” and ask them to sign the pledge as soon as possible. Resources and a step by step guide will then be sent out immediately following sign-up.
BEE Protective is a national campaign established by Beyond Pesticides and Center for Food Safety, and works with municipalities, campuses, and homeowners to adopt policies that protect pollinators from bee-toxic pesticides. For more information about the campaign, visit www.beeprotective.org.
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.
Source: Press Release