Target: Jeff Leal, Ontario Agricultural Minister
Goal: Prohibit the use of bee-killing pesticides
Across the world, bees play a key role in the cultivation of crops, but there has been a noticeable and significant decline in bee populations the world over. Ontario alone was hit with a 58% death rate of its wintering bee colonies in the 2013-2014. Having less than half the bees this year, it is necessary for Ontario to take immediate action to protect its bee population. Bees and other pollinators are responsible for one third of Ontario’s food supply, so the sudden decline in Ontario’s bee population could drastically change produce production.
Currently, the use of neonicotinoids is prohibited in much of Europe because of research indicating their harmful and often deadly effects on pollinators, especially bees. With the recent data showing a grave decline in Ontario’s bee population, it would be a cautious and responsible decision for Canada to join Europe in banning the use of toxic neonicotinoids.
Canada is currently in the process of making a decision on the use of neonicotinoids. One option being considered is to temporarily ban neonicotinoids until further studies continue to show more evidence that these toxins are harmful to bees. The other option being consider is to restrict the use of these chemicals and require that farmers file for special permits to plant seeds treated with the toxic substance. The current minister of agriculture hopes to have laws in place by the 2015 planting season, but that allows bees to be exposed to the harmful pesticides for months.
Waiting too long to make a decision on the use of neonicotinoids is almost the same as making no decision. Furthermore, a temporary ban or the requirement of special permits both allow a window of opportunity for neonicotinoid use. Honeybees are dying off quickly and a drastic change must be made as soon as possible. Tell Ontario’s minister of agriculture to make this issue a priority and stop the use of harmful neonicotinoids now.
Dear Mr. Leal,
Ontario has suffered a devastating loss of its bee population and immediate action needs to be taken. The people of Canada depend on bees and other pollinators for one third of the food they eat and a loss of 58% of Ontario’s bee population is sure to have an effect on the food supply. While harsh winters make survival more difficult for honeybees, the use of neonicotinoids plays a significant roll as well. Much of Europe has already banned the use of these harmful pesticides because waiting around to see what happens only means that more bees will die. You cannot control the weather, but you can control the use of toxic chemicals that both harm pollinators and pollute the environment.
You are currently considering several options of how to address the use of neonicotinoids, and you have set an end goal of the 2015 planting season. I urge you to make this decision a priority and create a solution before 2015. In this case, delayed action is the same thing as inaction. Honeybees will continue to suffer the effects of toxic pesticides and their populations will continue to decline. A temporary ban or the requirement of special use permits leave too big of an opening for the use of neonicotinoids. A total ban of these chemicals, as done in Europe, is the only solution. Please work quickly and save the dwindling population of Canadian honeybees before it is too late.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bob Peterson via Wikepedia