Touch the Soil News #346
Not a household word, but the term neonicotinoid is the name for a specific neuro-active chemical that kills insects – including bees. So without insects, birds die, bees die and a large portion of food is in peril for lack of pollinating.
The world’s largest manufacturers and sellers of neonicotinoids include Bayer CropScience and Syngenta. In the U.S., approximately 95 percent of all corn and canola crops and the majority of cotton, sorghum and sugar beets and half of all soybeans were treated with this chemical. In addition, there has been heavy use on fruits and vegetables including apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, cereal grains, rice, nuts and wine grapes. This chemical is possibly the most widely used insecticide in the world.
While corporate-paid science squares off with public interest, caution on behalf of bees is starting to win over. (Photo courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim)
In a stark and bold move, the French Parliament has voted to pass an outright ban on neonicotinoid use in France – suspected of being a prime contributor to bee colony collapse and other disasters as loss of birds due to loss of their insect food supply. France is calling for the ban to be extended throughout the entire European Union. The French bill still needs to work its way through the complete legislative process, but sends a powerful statement that public concern over food and the environment is not just a farmer and chemical company issue.
Following is a short video clip of a farmer who discovered 37 million dead bees after the planting of a large GMO corn field treated with neonnictinoid-based insecticides: