Surely one important gauge of human development is our willingness to protect the world's most vulnerable species. Here, humanity's scorecard is mixed. But when it comes to helping the buzzing harbingers of spring, bees, more than one million global citizens have stood tall.
In the US, studies indicate that 25% of the nation's 2.4m bee colonies have been "decimated or lost". We don't know what's behind this so-called Colony Collapse Disorder, but we do know that a dire situation isn't likely to improve when pesticides harmful to bees are still widely used. This week in the US, an army of commercial beekeepers and environmental groups filed a legal petition calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend registration of German company Bayer's pesticide clothianidin, which attacks bees' immune systems. That petition had lots of back-up: more than a million voices in the US alone supported a ban on clothianidin and other bee-killing pesticides. In addition to Avaaz, a number of great groups have teamed up on this including Center for Food Safety, the Coalition against BAYER-Dangers, and Beyond Pesticides.
This isn't just about compassion, or even about looking after flowers and honey supplies. Bees pollinate countless billions of dollars' worth of crops around the world: naked self-interest should tell us to look after bees too.