Bee Killers Sponsor National Pollinator Week (And 3 Ways They Are Killing Bees)
Concerned about the bees and the butterflies? Interested in celebrating National Pollinator Week? It’s happening next week, June 16-22.
In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated a week in June as National Pollinator Week. Every year, the Secretary of Agriculture signs a National Pollinator Week proclamation. As the public has grown increasingly concerned about the link between toxic chemicals and the die-off of bees and monarch butterflies, National Pollinator Week has evolved into the Pollinator Partnership. The Pollinator Partnership is a nonprofit that describes itself as “the largest organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.”
It’s all part of a well-documented, well-funded (and shameless) public relations campaign by the pesticide industry to give the appearance of “caring” about the die-off of bees and butterflies, while diverting attention from the cause of those die-offs—highly profitable products made by Monsanto and Bayer.
Let’s take back National Pollinators Week. By spreading the truth about the connections between Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops, Bayer’s neonicotinoid insecticides and Colony Collapse Disorder.
In honor of Pollinator Week, share this article. And make plans to join a pollinators celebration that hasn’t been taken over by the agrichemical and biotech companies: Bee Against Monsanto’s Global Swarm to Save the Bees on Aug. 16.
Three ways Monsanto and Bayer are killing the bees:
1. Monsanto’s genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant “Roundup Ready” crops
In 2000, scientists discovered that genetically engineered traits in pollen can be transferred to bees though their digestive systems.
Researcher Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, a leading German zoologist, released bees in a field of canola that had been genetically engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. He then fed the canola pollen to younger bees and observed that the bacteria in the guts of the young bees took on the traits of the canola's modified genes.
Kaatz’s research predated Colony Collapse Disorder. That term, for the disappearance of bees from the hive, wasn’t coined by scientists until 2006.
With the mass death of bees yet to come, the discussion of Kaatz’s findings focused less on how Monsanto’s genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant “Roundup Ready” crops could harm bees, and more on his research’s suggestion that all types of bacteria could be contaminated by engineered genes, including those that live inside the human digestive system. Scientists warned that this would impact the bacteria's vital role in helping the human body fight disease and aid digestion. Even worse, if the antibiotic-resistant gene used in genetically engineered crops crossed over to bacteria, it would cause human infections to become resistant to antibiotics.
The warnings were prescient. Kaatz’s work foreshadowed the correlation between the increase of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops in the human diet, and the rise of gastrointestinal disorders, immune diseases and antibiotic resistant infections.
Inadvertently, he also predicted how the increased use of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops would spur Colony Collapse Disorder in bees.
When Colony Collapse Disorder hit in 2006, others picked up where Kaatz left off.
In 2010, Terrence N. Ingram, a commercial beekeeper for 55 years, published an article in 2010 in Mother Earth News that detailed the struggles he’d had since his neighbors started spraying Roundup on their genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant soy in 1996. He went from producing 15 tons of honey a year down to four.
“The bees never had a chance,” he wrote, “and all of the hives were dead before winter.”
In 2012, his bees disappeared while he was out of town. This time it wasn’t the neighbor’s herbicide sprays, it was the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA). Under the pretense that Ingram’s hives were infected with foulbrood, the agency destroyed them to prevent the spread of the disease.
Ingram believed IDA’s action had more to do with his 15 years of research into the effect of Roundup on honeybees. His suspicions were fueled by the fact that IDA’s theft included the hive of a queen bee that may have had a genetic resistance to Roundup.
“Knowing that Monsanto and the Department of Agriculture are in bed together, one has to wonder if Monsanto was behind the theft to ruin my research that may prove Roundup was, and is, killing honeybees,” Ingram told local Prairie Advocate reporter Tom Kocal.
Ingram hasn’t been able to get his bees back. But his hunch that Roundup was killing his bees is gathering support.
The suspicions voiced in Ingram’s 2010 Mother Earth News article were backed up with scientific evidence in 2013, when plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber published a paper written for the Center for Honeybee Research that names glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, as a possible cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.
According to Huber, “The exposure, physiological damage, and biological impact of glyphosate are consistent with all of the known conditions related to CCD. Of all of the potential individual factors implicated in CCD, glyphosate is the only compound extensively used worldwide where CCD occurs that impacts all of them.”
2. Monsanto’s insecticide-producing, genetically engineered “Bt” Crops
In research from 2001-2004, Hans-Hinrich Kaatz conducted another investigation into the impact of Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops on honeybees. This time, he looked at “Bt crops” that have been genetically engineered to produce insecticide.
Kaatz found that genetically engineered Bt toxin didn’t kill healthy honeybees.
But as it turned out, not all the bees in his study were healthy. Just by chance, some of the bees were simultaneously exposed to a parasite along with the engineered toxin. In that group, there was a "significantly stronger decline in the number of bees." According to Kaatz, the bacterial toxin in the genetically modified corn may have "altered the surface of the bee's intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry."
Because of the harmful effect that the pollen of Bt crops could have on bees, in 2012, Poland’s Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki imposed a complete ban on growing MON810 corn, a Bt crop that is the only genetically engineered crop grown in the EU.
3. Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds treated with Bayer’s insecticides
Looking at the science, it’s hard not to wonder if Monsanto isn’t killing bees intentionally. Especially when the company buys out a bee research firm and proposes use genetic engineering to address Colony Collapse Disorder.
It’s bad enough that Monsanto produces genetically engineered crops that screw with honeybees’ gastrointestinal health, making them more susceptible to disease. But here’s the kicker: Monsanto also treats its genetically engineered seeds with a class of systemic insecticides that’s straight-up toxic to bees.
Insecticides known as neonicotinoids, or "neonics" for short, are the smoking gun of Colony Collapse Disorder. Bee colonies began disappearing in the U.S. one year after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowed these new insecticides on the market in 2004-2005.
A pile of studies implicate neonics in bee die-offs. Neonics are nerve poisons that disorient bees so they can’t make it back to the hive. They also trigger immune system failure, causing the bees to fall prey to opportunistic infections. Last year, the EU imposed a two-year ban on all neonics.
Monsanto routinely treats its seeds with neonics. Unlike insecticide sprays, neonic seed treatments cause the insecticide to spread through every cell of the plant as it grows. The insecticide is present and active in the plant’s pollen and nectar.
Take something that’s toxic to bees, get it to grow in plants’ pollen and nectar, and you’ve got a bee-killing machine.
Monsanto has a partner in this crime. It’s Bayer, the main manufacturer of neonic insecticides, as well as Syngenta, who together with Bayer controls the neonic market. They’re partners in Pollinator.org, part of their massive public relations disinformation campaign to distract the public and policymakers from thinking that pesticides might have something to do with bee death and destruction.
We can’t let these companies control what the American public knows about Colony Collapse Disorder. Celebrate National Pollinator Week by exposing their crime and the cover-up. Share this article and make plans to join the Global Swarm to Save the Bees on Aug. 16.
Alexis Baden-Mayer is political director of the Organic Consumers Association. Ronnie Cummins is national director of the Organic Consumers Association.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.
Size Matters<p>Climates are a bit like woven tapestries. The big picture is important, no question. But so are all the seemingly minor details found inside the larger whole.</p><p><a href="https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/en/persons/tommaso-jucker" target="_blank">Tommaso Jucker</a> is an environmental scientist at the University of Bristol. In an email, Jucker says he'd define the term microclimate as "the suite of climatic conditions (temperature, rainfall, humidity, solar radiation) measured in localized areas, typically near the ground and at spatial scales that are directly relevant to ecological processes."</p><p>We'll talk about that last bit in a minute. But first, there's another criteria to discuss. According to some researchers, a microclimate — by definition — must differ from the larger area that surrounds it.</p><p><a href="https://www.cfc.umt.edu/research/paleoecologylab/publications/Davis_et_al_2019_Ecography.pdf" target="_blank">Forests</a> provide us with some great examples. "The climate near the ground in a tropical rainforest is dramatically different from the climate in the canopy 50 meters [164 feet] above," says University of Montana ecologist <a href="https://www.cfc.umt.edu/personnel/details.php?ID=1110" target="_blank">Solomon Dobrowski</a> in an email. "This vertical gradient among other factors allows for the staggering biodiversity we see in the tropics."</p><p>Likewise, scientists observed that a 2015 partial <a href="https://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/bees-stopped-buzzing-during-2017-solar-eclipse.htm" target="_blank">solar eclipse</a> caused the air temperature of an Eastern European meadow to <a href="https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wea.2802" target="_blank">change more dramatically</a> than it did in a nearby forest. That's because trees provide not only shade, but their leaves also reflect solar radiation. At the same time, forests tend to reduce wind speeds.</p><p>All those factors add up. A 2019 review of 98 wooded places — spread out across five continents — found that forests are 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) <a href="https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/posts/47363-forests-protect-animals-and-plants-against-warming" target="_blank">cooler on average</a> than the areas outside them.</p><p>Now if you hate the cold, don't worry; there's a cozy exception to the rule. According to that same study, forests are usually 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than the external environment during the wintertime. Pretty cool.</p>
A Bug's Life<p>When does a microclimate stop being, well, micro? In other words, is there a maximum size we should be aware of when discussing them?</p><p>Depends on who you ask. "In terms of horizontal scale, some have defined 'microclimate' as anything that is less than 100 meters [328 feet] in range," Jucker says. "I'm personally less prescriptive about this."</p><p>Instead, he says the "scale at which we want to measure [a particular] microclimate" ought to be "dictated" by the questions we're trying to answer.</p><p>"If I want to know how temperature affects the photosynthesis of a leaf, I should be measuring temperature at centimeter scale," Jucker explains. "If I want to know if and how temperature affects the habitat preference of a large, mobile mammal, it's probably more relevant to capture temperature variation across [tens to hundreds] of meters."</p><p>For instance, solitary plants have the power to generate itty-bitty microclimates. Just ask <a href="https://www.colorado.edu/geography/peter-blanken-0" target="_blank">Peter Blanken</a>, a geography professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the co-author of the 2016 book, "<a href="https://amzn.to/2XN6FT8" target="_blank">Microclimate and Local Climate</a>."</p>
The urban heat island effect is a good example of how microclimates work. NOAA
Microclimates on a Grand Scale<p>It's no secret that our planet is going through some rough times at the macro level. The global temperature is <a href="https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/" target="_blank">climbing</a>; nine out of the <a href="https://www.noaa.gov/news/2019-was-2nd-hottest-year-on-record-for-earth-say-noaa-nasa" target="_blank">10 hottest years on record</a> have occurred since 2005. And by one recent estimate, roughly 1 million species around the world are <a href="https://ipbes.net/sites/default/files/2020-02/ipbes_global_assessment_report_summary_for_policymakers_en.pdf" target="_blank">facing extinction</a> due to human activities.</p><p>"One of the big questions that ecologists and environmental scientists are trying to answer right now is how will individual species and whole ecosystems respond to rapid climate change and habitat loss," says Jucker. "...To me, [microclimates are] a key component of this research — if we don't measure and understand climate at the appropriate scale, then predicting how things will change in the future becomes a lot harder."</p><p>Developers have long understood the impact small-scale climates have on our daily lives. <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/urban-heat-island.htm#pt0" target="_blank">Urban heat islands</a> are cities that have higher temperatures than neighboring rural areas.</p><p>Plants release vapors that can moderate local climates. But in cities, natural greenery is often scarce. To make matters worse, plenty of our roads and buildings have a bad habit of absorbing or re-emitting heat from the sun. <a href="https://www.google.com/books/edition/Microclimate_and_Local_Climate/LHUZDAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=urban%20heat%20island" target="_blank">Vehicle emissions</a> don't exactly help the situation.</p><p>Still, it's not like Boston or Beijing are thermal monoliths. Sometimes, the documented temperatures <a href="https://e360.yale.edu/features/can-we-turn-down-the-temperature-on-urban-heat-islands" target="_blank">within a single city</a> vary by 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 to 11.1 degrees Celsius).</p><p>That's where metro parks and city trees come in. They have nice cooling effects on nearby neighborhoods. "Several cities around the world have developed programs to increase urban green spaces," says Blanken. "Tree planting programs and green roof programs, have been shown to lower surface temperatures, decrease air pollution and decrease surface water runoff (urban flash-flooding) in urban areas."</p>
An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.
- 10 Wildfires Ignite Around Los Angeles in Unseasonable Wind and ... ›
- 550,000 Acres on Fire in Alaska in Latest Sign of the Climate Crisis ... ›
- Sonoma County Wildfire Spreads 7000 Acres in Less Than Five Hours ›
- What Should We Know About Wildfires in California - EcoWatch ›
- California's Rainless February Points to Dangerous Drought, Early ... ›
By Jeff Berardelli
Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020
If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.
<div id="ecf36" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c2dcc9d48a6cd61f247df1544539a783"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1290959314132361216" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Naming heatwaves is a good idea—making the abstract concrete, the invisible visible. Why should hurricanes and wild… https://t.co/hDWgYb79Ob</div> — Ed Maibach (@Ed Maibach)<a href="https://twitter.com/MaibachEd/statuses/1290959314132361216">1596623660.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Human Activity Caused Latest European Heat Wave, Scientists Say ... ›
- Antarctica Experiences First Known Heat Wave - EcoWatch ›
- Intense Heat Wave Bakes Much of the U.S. - EcoWatch ›
Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.
- Botswana Auctions Off First Licenses to Kill Elephants Since Ending ... ›
- Wild-Caught Elephants Can Die Up to 7 Years Earlier - EcoWatch ›
- Thailand's captive elephants face starvation amid COVID-19 tourism ... ›
- Thai Tourist Park Sets Captive Elephants Free to Focus On ... ›
- Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism ›
- Captive Elephants in Thailand May Starve as Tourist Camps Close ... ›
- The Complicated Business of Saving Elephant Tourism: A Skift ... ›
One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.
Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.
The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.
The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.
If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.
The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.
"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.
"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."
One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.
- Amazon Deforestation Is Causing 20% of Forests to Release More ... ›
- World's Oceans Warming 40% Faster Than Previously Thought ... ›
- Earth Is Hurtling Towards a Catastrophe Worse Than the Dinosaur ... ›
By Jessica Corbett
A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.
<div id="7a571" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aad9dcf60e7385e6553ff23ffc1ae75d"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1293527664389693447" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Deaths hit a record in Florida yesterday. This guy's jail system is rife with COVID. And he's banned masks in his s… https://t.co/Cbp2wR32o1</div> — Michael McAuliff (@Michael McAuliff)<a href="https://twitter.com/mmcauliff/statuses/1293527664389693447">1597236002.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="79024" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4ac086eab58b9713f2ad777c40938252"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1293578984148606977" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">This actively puts peoples' lives at risk. https://t.co/GKF0Xgjyex</div> — CAP Action (@CAP Action)<a href="https://twitter.com/CAPAction/statuses/1293578984148606977">1597248238.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Beaches Reopen Before Memorial Day, but Is It Safe to Go ... ›
- Crowds Gather Over Memorial Day Weekend Despite Pleas From ... ›