Towards a sustainable agricultural policy in the EU to save bees and farmers!
by Sophia Stille // 12.04.2021
Saving bees from extinction
Every year when the days get longer and we start hearing bees humming around the garden it means that summer is finally around the corner. The picture you can see on the right is probably one many people have in mind, thinking about bees pollinating flowers and blossoming trees. Sadly, this is no longer reflecting reality. Many bee species in Europe are threatened by extinction – and it requires change in our behavior in order to save important contributors to our ecosystem – bees.
Like so many things in a globalized world, agricultural policy in the EU is focusing on growth and efficient production. The use of toxic agrochemicals is common – if not inevitable – for farmers in order to resist the pressures of the market. Over the years this has led to changes in our ecosystems and biodiversity which means that the nature as we know it is changing. Animals are losing their habitat, species simply die out and farmers who do not produce efficient enough run out of business.
Beginning and demands of the initiative
To draw attention to this alarming development, an alliance of NGOs, grassroot movements and scientists have launched a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). Through this mechanism, citizens can draw the attention of EU policy makers to issues that are missing from the agenda when they collect at least one million signatures. The initiative “Save bees and farmers” was launched in September 2019 by a wide range of actors such as the Aurelia Foundation, BUND, Umweltinstitut München and the European Professional Beekeepers Association. Their main aim is to call on the European Commission to initiate a change in policy which is based on a sustainable approach to ensure a healthy living for animals and humans.
The key demands of the initiative are the phasing out of synthetic pesticides, the introduction of precise measures to recover biodiversity, save bees and support for farmers. What does this mean exactly? The ECI calls for legal acts to terminate the use of toxic chemicals in agricultural use by 2035 to restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas. Through sustainable and organic farming, food production and the protection of ecosystems and species can become unified goals instead of competing ones. In order to reach this, farmers need to be supported in the process of transitioning, funds have to be re-allocated and the topic has to be prioritized on the policy agenda.
At Our Only Home, our goal is to inform citizens about important initiatives like this one, since it requires the help of everybody to make a change on this planet. In a digital world, many things can be accessed online and getting involved might be easier than you think. Let us work together to reach our goal of environmentally friendly policies and a world full of humming bees.
How can you support the ECI to contribute to a change of agricultural policy?
- Sign the petition on “Save bees and farmers – Towards a bee-friendly agriculture and a healthy environment” until the 30th of September 2021
- Make a donation in order to sustain campaigning costs of the initiative
- Share the initiative and the importance of the topic on your social media and spread the word!