We Have A Problem

A healthy and viable world with a population that can support itself requires sustainable food production. However, honey bees and other pollinators are disappearing from the biosphere due to the fact that meadows, where bumblebees and other solitary bees resided 20-30 years ago, have largely been replaced with monocultures operating on an industrial scale. As much as 76 % of our insects have disappeared during the last 27 years in Europe, according to a 2017 study from Germany. The pollinator proportion does not show in the study; however, but the trend is nonetheless univocal and if it continues, then we are putting our food supply at risk by 2030.

Meadowlands are of great importance to biodiversity and the number of meadows has declined dramatically in our country during the 20th century. At the beginning of the last century we about 1.3 million hectares of meadow in Sweden, but 100 years later remains only a small fraction. Thanks to non-profit forces and committed farmers, the meadow area has increased slightly, and now, according to the Swedish Agriculture Agency, it is amounts to about 7,000 hectares. And that is less than 0.5 % compared to what it looked like a hundred years ago.

In some other areas, the situation is considerably worse, and the collapse of the biosphere and wild pollinators reflect the development in a clear and unambiguous way. In addition to the fact that polliners' natural environment has been diminishing, they are also exposed to modern agriculture that uses pesticides containing herbicides (glyphosates) and insecticides (neonicotinoids). Both compounds have been brought to attention in that they, directly and indirectly, kill insects. These agents are mainly used in the cultivation of genetically modified crops (GMOs), which have not yet become a major concern in Europe. However, all researchers do not agree on the causes for this trend. But the decimation of the entomofauna, both in terms of diversity and numbers, is described in a study as catastrophic, and it is believed that increased agriculture plays a major part. Whole ecosystems, not just in Europe, are exposed and risk disappearing, and with them our food supply. "If we lose the insects, everything will collapse," says Dave Goulson, one of the researchers behind the study. There are close to 300 different species of wild bees and they constitute the largest proportion of polliners and without them, beekeeping is almost comparable to artificial respiration and it is not enough to reverse the trend and restore sustainable food production. We need to develop new methods of farming that neither compete with meadows nor require pesticides that eradicate the insects.


No insects here, not one buzz - it's totally silent

We work on a large scale encouraging beekeepers and organic cultivation of crops in connection with the restoration of meadows and other natural habitats for solitary bees which, as noted earlier, are more important for food production than honey bees. The disappearance of meadows in favour of monocultures that use pesticides is very important for the downward trend. It should be rewarding to grow crops without pesticides and to ensure that we have enough meadows to provide the ecosystem with regard to polliners and other insects. In the long run, the campaign will lead to the emergence of an alternative agriculture driven without profit in Sweden and elsewhere in the world, such as cooperatives or other forms of social entrepreneurship. In other word we should care for the conditions of food production, by restoring respect for traditional cultivation with its practice of fallows, instead of eliminating them.



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