This Earth Day, support our efforts to save the bees

We're working to eliminate toxic neonic pesticides, which attack bees' brains and contribute to the massive die-offs of honeybees, native bees and more.

Stephen Rahn via Flickr | Public Domain

As bees emerge this spring, they’ll face a fierce and familiar enemy: neonicotinoid pesticides.

Called “neonics” for short, these neurotoxins attack bees’ brains, and they’re one of the factors driving massive die-offs of honeybees, native bees and more. We know we can’t afford to lose the bees — given the vital role they play in pollination, bees carry the weight of entire ecosystems on their tiny backs.

That’s why we’re bringing together the whole Environment Minnesota hive this Earth Day to protect bees from toxic pesticides.

How do pesticides harm bees?

Neonics are most commonly applied to seeds before they’re even planted — including nearly all corn and much of the soy and cotton planted in the United States. Even the plants for sale at your local garden center may have been grown from neonic-coated seeds.

As those seeds grow, the neurotoxin is incorporated into every part of the plant: the stem, leaves, pollen, nectar and sap. One study found that our agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to bees than it was just 25 years ago, almost entirely due to neonics.

And when bees set out to dutifully gather nectar and pollen, they’re also gathering tiny doses of deadly pesticides to bring home to the hive. Neonics cause permanent brain damage in baby bees and diminish bees’ ability to learn, navigate and forage.

Your support could help save the bees

When the whole Environment Minnesota hive comes together, we raise a buzz that wins real change. By standing with us this Earth Day, you become an essential part of all of our work. Together:

  • We’re calling on retailers and home garden centers to stop selling neonics. Already, we’ve won commitments from Home Depot and Lowe’s to act, and now we’re urging Amazon to do the same.
  • We’re urging the Biden administration to reinstate an Obama-era ban on neonics in wildlife refuges, the places bees should be safest from deadly pesticides.
  • We’re lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the worst uses of neonics, including as a coating on agricultural seeds.
  • We’re asking our state leaders to expand safe habitat by planting bee-friendly native plants along roadsides and in parks and other green spaces. We helped to secure $10 million in federal funds for the states to create pollinator habitat, and we’re just getting started. 

These are campaigns I know we can win — but only with your support.

Earth Day is the day we not only celebrate our amazing planet but also remember the hard work and action it takes to keep our environment healthy and whole.

We’ve set a goal of raising $100,000 this Earth Day to save the bees and stand up for a greener, healthier planet. Will you donate to our Earth Day 2023 Drive today?

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Author

Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America

Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.