A new ban on pesticides in Europe is aimed at slowing the decline of honey bee populations there, and advocates for green ideas are hoping that it will eventually be extended and possibly spread to the United States as well. The ban, which was instituted by the European Commission and covers a class of pesticide known as neonicotinoids, began on December 1 and applies to three specific pesticides – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam – that are believed to cause colony collapse disorder (CCD), an alarming trend in which bee hives all over the world are disappearing.
Why is this trend so worrying? Because bees pollinate many of the world's most abundant crops, and if they disappear or their populations are reduced to a point where they can no longer reliably pollinate these plants, it will almost certainly result in food shortages and skyrocketing prices.
What's even more disconcerting is that, according to the New York Times, these pesticides may also have harmful effects on human health. The European Union is now warning that neonicotinoids, where are derived from nicotine, may have adverse effects on the nervous systems of children.
This begs the question of what can you do to encourage growers to move away from these products, which have disastrous consequences for the environment and public health? The answer is to buy local, organically-grown food items that clearly indicate they were not grown with the assistance of pesticides and other unnatural chemicals that are reshaping ecosystems. It's ultimately a small gesture, but it ensures that your family will have less exposure to these awful substances.