The European Food Safety Authority has labelled three neonicotinoid insecticides as ‘an unacceptable danger to bees’. Our own all-party Environmental Audit Committee has called for a moratorium on their use on plants that attract bees, but the UK and Germany are still resisting calls from the rest of Europe for restrictions on their use. Is it coincidence that these countries are the homes of the two major manufacturers of these agrochemicals, Syngenta and Bayer? As the science becomes increasingly overwhelming, the arguments of our recalcitrant environment secretary, Owen Paterson have moved on to economic benefits: it seems that a ban will be resisted until there is incontrovertible evidence that the economic costs of pollinator loss outweigh the economic benefits to farmers and manufacturers of spraying.
What value is there in hearing birdsong, in watching a bee at work or in feeling the harmony of coexistence? To deny value to our surroundings (save for their tangible economic benefits) is to accept the depressingly barbaric surrender of our planet’s future to the forces of short term capitalism.
If you can muster the energy, the Soil Association are urging you to write to your MP and request they ask Owen Paterson to support the ban. The European Commission are reviewing the ban on 26th April – to read more visit www.bees.pan-uk.org, or www.soilassociation.org, if for no other reason than to give evidence that we are not all as narrow-minded and unimaginative as our Environment Secretary.