Target: Brian R. Leahy, Director of California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)
Goal: Don’t permit the use of pesticides linked to the decline in honeybee populations
Honeybee populations are declining around the world and humans stand to lose a lot more than the sweet honey they produce. Current research suggests that pesticides and environmental damage play a role in the disappearance of the honeybee. Despite this information, it is still common practice to use harmful pesticides in commercial agriculture. In California, where a large portion of U.S. crops are produced, including 99 percent of walnuts, 95 percent of garlic, and 71 percent of spinach, the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has a law mandating that all pesticides must be fully evaluated prior to registration and use. Contrary to this law, the state of California just approved the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been indicated as possible culprits in the decline of the honeybee and which have not been fully researched.
In 2009, the DPR initiated a scientific review of neonicotinoids because of evidence that they are harmful to honeybees, but the DPR has yet to make a decision on these pesticides and has not done anything to protect the bees. Recently, the DPR illegally approved the widespread use of two neonicotinoid insecticides without determining their impact on pollinators and effects on the environment as required by existing law. Practices like these will do nothing to safeguard honeybees and America’s food source.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that one-third of the food we consume is dependent on honeybee pollination and yet governmental organizations do not take action to protect the $20-30 billion per year that comes directly from the labor of pollinators. The U.S. almond crop alone, which comes entirely from California and is dependent on pollinators, is a $3 billion-per-year industry. The continued use of neonicotinoids without proper research is a very risky venture that could result in a catastrophic change in the agricultural industry and in the environment. The United States has seen a 40% decline in commercial honeybees since 2006 and we can’t stand around waiting for further decline to prove that pesticides are the culprit. Tell the Department of Pesticide Regulation to halt all use of neonicotinoids until further research proves they are not harmful to honeybees or the environment.
Dear Mr. Leahy,
As the director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, I call upon you to put an end to the use of neonicotinoids until sufficient research has been completed and indicates that such pesticides have no detrimental effects on pollinators. Current law dictates that pesticides be thoroughly researched and reviewed before approved for use; however, this did not stop California’s recent approval of neonicitinoid use despite the incomplete investigation on neonicotinoids’ impact on honeybees.
Since 2006, a staggering 40% of commercial honeybees in the United States have disappeared, indicating that current practices in agriculture and environmental degradation are not helping the creature that is responsible for 33% of our food supply. To stand by and allow the continued use of a pesticide currently linked to the decline in the honeybee population is a grave mistake. I urge you to put a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids and save the honeybee from a likely killer.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: dalantech via Deviantart