The European Commission recently made a landmark decision restricting or banning the use of systemic, neonicotinoid pesticides. This came after years of protests and overwhelming scientific studies supporting the lethal and sublethal effects of systemic pesticides on pollinators. This week Bayer responded by suing the European Commission for their right to kill bees. This from "Sum of Us":
"Bayer and Syngenta, two of the world's largest chemical corporations, claim that the ban is "unjustified" and "disproportionate." But clear scientific evidence shows their products are behind the massive bee die-off that puts our entire food chain in peril.
Just last month, 37 million bees were discovered dead on a single Canadian farm. And unless we act now, the bees will keep dying. We have to show Bayer now that we won't tolerate it putting its profits ahead of our planet's health. If this giant corporation manages to bully Europe into submission, it would spell disaster for the bees.
Sign the petition to tell Bayer and Syngenta to drop their bee-killing lawsuits now.
The dangerous chemical Bayer makes is a neonicotinoid, or neonic. Neonics are soaked into seeds, spreading through the plant and killing insects stopping by for a snack. These pesticides can easily be replaced by other chemicals which don’t have such a devastating effect on the food chain. But companies like Bayer and Syngenta make a fortune from selling neonics -- so they’ll do everything they can to protect their profits.
The EU banned these bee-killers this past May, after a massive public campaign and a clear scientific finding from the European Food Safety Authority that neonics pose huge risks to bee populations. Bayer fought against the ban every step of the way, using tactics taken from Big Tobacco -- pouring millions into lobbying and fake science to stop decision-makers from taking action.
Now, we have to defend this landmark ban for the bees, and our food supply. Sign the petition now to tell Bayer and Syngenta to drop their aggressive lawsuits!
We have to stand up for the European ban now, from Europe and from around the world. The current ban only lasts for two years before it's up for review, and Bayer is now determined to stop it before it even comes into force in December 2013. If it is allowed to intimidate the European authorities with impunity, then the pressure to overturn the ban will be huge. This will be a massive victory for the poison industry, and a devastating loss for the bees, and all of us. It will make every environmental regulation more difficult, because companies that can't win on the facts can use their enormous profits to fund expensive, baseless lawsuits.
Bayer is an enormous company with a ton of public-facing brands. Neonics are a big part of its bottom line, but it can't afford poor publicity on a global scale. And if word gets out that Bayer is wrecking our ecosystem and threatening a creature responsible for pollinating a third of all our crops, the company will have to back down.
SumOfUs staff and members have literally just gotten of the plane from a convention in Chicago where we took the fight for a ban in the US right to the industry itself -- so we know how important it is to hold the line.
Sign the petition to tell Bayer and Syngenta to drop their bee-killing lawsuits now. Let's build on this landmark victory and take the bee-killing pesticide ban global."
Unfortunately North America is far behind Europe and most of the rest of the world in terms of responding to urgent environmental concerns. This is because the agrochemical corporations control our political system through campaign funding and lobbying and a continuous revolving door of personnel between corporate headquarters and Washington.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada is urging Harper's Conservatives to follow the European Commission’s lead and ban the neonicotinoid pesticides:
“I believe the precautionary principle should guide our action here. Canada can stand up to the chemical industry. It’s a matter of political will,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
“Neonicotinoids are another example of the negative long-term consequences of pesticides. Any advantage to individual crops is wiped out by the massive destruction of crop pollinators across the country and the resulting drop in productivity of many of our food crops,” said Kate Storey, Green Party’s Agriculture Critic. “It would be economically smarter to ban neonicotinoids and put research into organic ways of working with nature,” added Storey (Ban Neonicotinoids in Canada).
Please help Elizabeth May and the Green Party ban the use of systemic, neonicotinoid pesticides in Canada by signing this petition.
The effects of the systemic, neonicotinoid pesticides are not exclusive to pollinators as their inherent, long lasting systemic nature makes every part of the plant toxic (including morning dew on the plant); the toxin accumulates in the soil and leaches into the groundwater effecting the entire ecosystem and it's inhabitants (i.e birds ...). Environment Canada recently did a study on the potential for leaching of neonicotinoid pesticides from agricultural lands into surrounding wetlands. The results showed staggeringly high accumulations in most surrounding wetlands. Dr. Jeroen van der Sluijs of Utrecht University stated, "The pollution was so bad that in some places the ditch water could have been used as an effective pesticide". "This substance should be phased out internationally as soon as possible". He added that half the 20,000 tonnes of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid produced each year are used to treat fleas and other pests in cattle, dogs and cats and as such are not subject to the EU ban. "All of this imidacloprid ends up in the surface water". The scientists found several cases of extreme water pollution with imidacloprid levels 25,000 times the limit. A powerpoint of the Environment Canada study can be viewed here.