Teens Turning Green Blog

Help Us Save the Bees!

Recently, the White House Pollinator Health Task Force (WHTF) released its strategy to address the threats to bees, monarchs, and other pollinators. While the task force has developed positive, far-reaching goals for honeybees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators, the plan is far too weak to accomplish those goals. Help us protect the pollinators by urging the White House to drastically reduce and ban the use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoid. Leave your name, title + students as a reply to sign on this letter to President Obama!

June 2015

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

We would like to convey our deep appreciation and gratitude to you and your administration for recognizing the importance of protecting bees and other pollinators. The presidential memorandum you issued in June 2014 and the National Pollinator Health Strategy released in May 2015, were monumental steps in recognizing the severity of the pollinator crisis. However, as students deeply concerned about the future of our country and the world, we urge you to reconsider the language and terms of the National Pollinator Health Strategy plan and take additional steps to address pesticide use.

Bees and other pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat and provide all of the nutritious and healthy food we need to consume in order to develop, grow, and power our minds and bodies. Bee pollination contributes significantly to the U.S. and world economy, accounting for more than $15 billion to the U.S. and more than $217 billion to the world economies. However, the future of healthy food is at risk if we don’t adopt a more aggressive strategy as quickly as possible.

In the past eight years, beekeepers on average have lost 30% of their hives and some beekeepers have lost 100% of their operations. This past year, beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their hives, which is the second highest annual loss recorded to date. These losses are too high to be sustainable.

As students invested in the future of this country, we recognize the importance of protecting our environment and natural resources. Pollinator decline is a complex issue and it requires a multi-faceted approach to tackle the problem. We want to help ensure a long term solution that will fully support pollinators, the environment, our food system and the economy. While the Strategy recently released by your administration was a good start to tackling this issue, lack of action to specifically target the unnecessary use of certain pesticides and the persistence of loopholes in our legislation will work to undermine our goals.

A growing body of scientific evidence has identified pesticide use as a leading culprit in pollinator declines. Recently, the European Academies Science Advisory Council found that there is more evidence that widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides has severe effects on a wide range of organisms that not only bolster biodiversity, but also provide ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control. The balance among the use of neonicotinoids, the desired effect on food production, the inevitable risk of collateral damage to non-target species, and environmental health requires reassessment. The council’s report concluded that the widespread use of neonicotinoids is not compatible with the objectives of sustainable agriculture.
This study is just one of thousands of studies that indicate we must reexamine the widespread use of pesticides in this country in agriculture, landscape maintenance, and gardens in order to support not only pollinators, but all beneficial organisms essential to functional ecosystems, food production, and water and soil quality.

Although the new Strategy demonstrates that your administration has started to recognize that pesticide use must be reexamined, further steps must be taken to secure the health of our ecosystems, and ultimately the health of our citizens and our economy. At the beginning of April the EPA announced a moratorium on new or expanded uses of neonicotinoids while it evaluates the risks posed to pollinators. However, this moratorium and your new plan for pollinator health do not include current uses of neonicotinoids on the market and does not include systemic insecticides that have similar chemistry to neonicotinoids such as flupyradifurone or sulfoxaflor. Pesticide manufacturers claim that those are a safer alternative, but evidence shows that they are equally harmful to bees and other pollinators. In October, the Center on Environmental Quality, released guidance that recommends federal landscapes not use systemic insecticides on plants or landscapes to help provide safe and healthy habitat, but this still has not been adequately addressed.

While we are taking small steps forward to protect pollinators, a thorough look and transition away from pesticides is still needed in order to truly protect pollinators, support the environment and health and longevity of a sustainable food system. As students, we’re concerned about the future of the world we’re inheriting. We want to live in a world that is sustainable and just not only for our generation, but for many generations to come.

We urge you reconsider your 2017 review timeline for neonicotinoid pesticides and the current policies of the Pollinator Health Strategy. Consider the thousands of young people across this country that are depending on you to set an example and leave a legacy that will support a thriving economy, sustainable food system, and a healthy environment. We call upon you to direct your administration to take a more rigorous approach in protecting our ecosystems and our food by adopting policies that restrict pesticide use, including canceling current registrations of toxic, systemic insecticides. We must take steps towards a sustainable agricultural system that is no longer reliant on pesticides and invests in new alternatives, organic production, and land management. We are the future and we need your administration to create the types of policies that will provide us with a safe and healthy environment so that we may fully take advantage of all the opportunities our country has to offer.

Victoria L. Triolo
Founder and President Beekeepers Club
The Pennsylvania State University

Anna Gustafson and Liz Topp
Co-Presidents MSU Greenpeace
Michigan State University

Kirsti Martinez
Out-Going President/In-Coming Director of Politics and Activism
Student Environmental Association
University of South Florida

Anne Martin
President Food for Thought
Duke University

Davis Saltonstall
President Earth Matters
New York University

Megan Fuerst
President, Student Advisory Board
Teens Turning Green
Environment and Natural Resources
The Ohio State University

Cameron Hines
President Green Devils
Arizona State University

Nicolas Matallana
Co-president 1,000 New Gardens
University of Montana

Alen Jakupovic
Outgoing Executive Director
Campus Student Sustainability Initiatives
Arizona State University

Emily Behnke
Project Green
University of Delaware

Kimberly Kruse
Graduate student
Arizona State University

Haley Randell
Masters in Sustainable Solutions
Arizona State University

Jaryn Thorndyke and Leda E. Balch
Co-Directors Environmental Youth Council

Alex Veder
Students For Recycling
The Ohio State University

Erin Mundorf
Students for Sustainable Campus
The Ohio State University

Rachel Metzler
Local Matter Student Ambassadors
The Ohio State University

Ingrid Huang
Vice President
Net Impact – Undergraduate Chapter
The Ohio State University

Jason Ward
EcoCAR Challenge Team
The Ohio State University

Laurie Hamame
Body Sense
The Ohio State University

Alissa Finke
Vice President
SENR Coalition of Student Organization
The Ohio State University

Lucas Mcclish
Sustainability Council
The Ohio State University

Joey Becker
The Ohio State University

Samuel Powers
Sustainability Committee Chairsperson
Undergraduate Student Government
The Ohio State University

Charles Cevallos
President Green GW
George Washington University

Ana Maria Zabala
President CASE (Comité Ambiental Social Escolar)
Rochester School

Alice Beittel
Student Advisory Board
Teens Turning Green
Chair, Students for Sustainability
Bishop O’Dowd High School

Ashley Ugarte
Rice Environmental Society
Rice University

Aisha Cissna
Resident Sustainability Advisor
Humboldt State University

Jenny Fang
San Leandro High School

Lindsay Millward
Environmental Conservation Organization
Belmont University

Ryan Schroeder
Environmental Science Club
Purdue University

Sophia Erhard
Urban Conservation Club
Rice University

Jessa West
Eco-Youth Advisor
Teens Turning Green
University of Texas at Austin

Kirsti Martinez
Co-President of Student Environmental Association
University of South Florida

Ariel Mattner
Co-President of Student Environmental Association
University of South Florida

Lucas McClish
President and Sustainability Council President
Students for a Sustainable Campus Member
Ohio State University

Elizabeth Harris
Political Science and Environmental Studies
University of Richmond

Taylor Holden
SEEDS President, Associate Director of UR Spatial Analysis Lab
University of Richmond

Arnold Kim
President of Open Air Arts Club
University of Richmond

Nicholas Hooper
Biology and Psycology Major
Old Dominion University

Mellisa Ross
Biology Major, Chemistry Minor, Healthcare and Society Minor
University of Richmond

Dillon Massey
Research Coordinator, Center for Civic Engagement
University of Richmond

Emma Griffith
Incoming Vice President of Student Environmental Association
University of South Florida

Shaquille Christmas
Biology Major, Geography Minor
University of Richmond

Kerry McGowan
Office of Sustainability Coordinator
University of Richmond

Eric Chiu
MS. Human Computer Interaction
DePaul University

Spenser Cote
Masters of Environmental Management-Ecotoxicology
Nicholas School of the Environment-Duke University

Natalya Ares
Nicholas School of the Environment-Duke University
Masters of Environmental Mangement

Cc: Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
Speaker of the House John Boehner
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

This entry was published on June 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm and is filed under Wear. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “Help Us Save the Bees!

  1. Danielle Schoen
    Turning Green
    Skidmore College

  2. Manuela on said:

    Manuela Tauscher
    Intern at Turning Green
    Skidmore College

  3. Jessie Ainslie on said:

    Jessie Ainslie
    Turning Green
    Claremont McKenna College

  4. 2017: Gabriela Copello on said:

    Gabriela Copello
    Student Advisory Board
    Colegio Nueva Granada

  5. Rebecca Goffe on said:

    Rebecca Goffe
    Outreach Coordinator, Turning Green
    Vice President, Project Green
    The Ohio State University

  6. Shradha Menghrajani
    Green Club Council
    Teens Turning Green
    Mission San Jose High Scool

  7. jenhzim on said:

    Jenna Zimmerman
    Communications Coordinator
    Turning Green
    New York University

  8. Lianne Chu on said:

    Lianne Chu
    Turning Green
    San Leandro High School

  9. Summer on said:

    Summer Sherrod
    National Intern, Turning Green
    President, Student Sustainability Club
    University of Arkansas

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