Saturday, 15 June 2013

Will Greenpeace talk to beekeepers?

Today I was linked to an article that reminds me why I struggle to find it in myself to support Greenpeace. It seems like Greenpeace is committed to furthering political agendas over actually engaging seriously about modern ecological problems, and finding solutions to them. In the article, the author asserts that "We know what is killing the bees", and, in fact, we do. So let's take a look at the causes of bee decline he chooses to list:

"Scientists know that bees are dying from a variety of factors—pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, global warming and so forth."

Among those, the single most prevalent factor involved in honeybee decline on the minds of most beekeepers, is not listed. Furthermore, with the upshoot in urban beekeeping and its steady rise as the predominant form of hobbyist beekeeping, the argument of "habitat destruction" is, at least in the context of honeybees, absolutely absurd. I have bees in an urban garden, and know beekeepers who keep very successful colonies on top of city centre buildings, for crying out loud.

The article goes on to say things like "In the U.S., where bee collapse first appeared, winter losses commonly reached 30-50 percent and in some cases more." Firstly, Colony Collapse Disorder is completely distinct to winter colony failure, which has always existed, and is far from unique to the US. Winter colony losses have increased dramatically over recent years, certainly, in large part due to the Varroa mite (that "single most prevalent factor" I alluded to above), but CCD is an in-season failure of the colony, and by that aspect of its definition alone, is totally distinct from winter colony failure, which is accelerating to unsustainable rates.

A simple factual inaccuracy like this indicates exactly how much time Greenpeace have spent speaking to beekeepers, who are the front line of honeybee conservation, about the issues they face, and what needs to be done about it. The article makes it blatantly clear that Greenpeace prefer a blanket political campaign against pesticides instead of an evidence based debate to remove those pesticides proven to be environmentally damaging, and encourage the use of IPM as a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative, using bees as a pawn in their mission.

It's obvious that Greenpeace don't really care about bees, or at least, this journalist doesn't really care about bees (and by extension, the organisation as a whole as he carries their endorsement), and they'd rather use bees and beekeepers as a pawn in their anti-pesticide mission.

This is why Greenpeace has no credibility in the debate about bee decline, and they never will, until they actually speak to beekeepers about their problems instead of making simple factual mistakes like this and skimming over the issues that really affect beekeepers on a day to day basis.

Greenpeace, if you want credibility in this area, talk to us, listen to us, and don't use us as a pawn.

Thank you.

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