Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

11 Foods That Would Disappear Without Pollinators

Food

By Diane MacEachern

We all know honey comes from bees. But have you ever connected other foods you eat with the fact that they only exist because they're pollinated by bees and other creatures?

It's an important connection to make, considering just how threatened bees, butterflies, birds, beetles and other important pollinators are. The threats come from pollution, climate change, habitat destruction and use of toxic pesticides and herbicides. But maybe the biggest threat is ignorance to how essential these creatures are to the web of life as well as our own food chain.

The Whites House has acknowledged the importance of pollinators not only to America's food security but to the U.S. economy. “Honeybees enable the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America," the White House said in a statement.

Globally, 87 of 115 leading food crops depend on animal pollinators and contribute 35 percent of global food production. What that means is, pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy. Not only do pollinators help keep us fed; they also help sustain our prosperity.

Here's just one example of the impact pollinators have on what we eat and how well we do. Almonds are almost exclusively pollinated by honey bees. California's almond industry, just the almonds, require pollination help from about 1.4 million beehives (not 1.4 million individual bees, but the thousands of bees that live in each hive). As bee colonies are collapsing, they're taking their toll on the almonds and other plants they pollinate. Beekeepers in the U.S. have collectively lost an estimated 10 million beehives at an approximate current value of $200 each, driving up food prices but, more importantly, potentially putting more than a third of our food system in danger.

National Pollinator Week was unanimously designated by the U.S. to address the issue of declining populations of pollinators. The original event was held in June 2007. It has now grown into an international celebration managed by the Pollinator Partnership and supported by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior. This year, it is being celebrated June 20-June 27.

In honor of the 2016 National Pollinator Week, here are 11 foods we would lose if pollinators weren't around to do their job. Note that the list includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

1. Apples (and all kinds of other tree fruits, including peaches, apricots, plums, lemons, limes and cherries)

2. Strawberries (as well as elderberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries)

3. Onions

4. Avocados

5. Green Beans (and many other beans, including adzuki, kidney and lima beans)

6. Coffee

7. Sunflower Oil (and other oils, including palm, safflower and sesame)

8. Tomatoes (plus cucumbers)

9. Grapes

10. Cauliflower (plus cabbage, broccoli, turnips and Brussels sprouts)

11. Beets

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Diet vs. Exercise: What's More Important?

5 Energizing Drinks Healthier Than Coffee

11 Reasons Why You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds

These 16,000 Foods May Contain the Hormone-Disrupting Chemical BPA

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less
Locals board up their shops in Vanuatu's capital of Port Vila on April 6, 2020 ahead of Tropical Cyclone Harold. PHILIPPE CARILLO / AFP via Getty Images

The most powerful extreme weather event of 2020 lashed the Pacific nation of Vanuatu Monday as it tries to protect itself from the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Two rare Malayan tiger cubs born at the Bronx Zoo in January 2016, Nadia and Azul made their public debut in September 2016. Nadia has now tested positive for the new coronavirus, and Azul has shown symptoms.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo is believed to be the first animal in the U.S. and the first tiger in the world to test positive for the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less