The suggestions for action include:
While recognizing there is a problem with neonicotinoids is the first step in addressing this issue, it is part of a larger issue with our complex food system. Neonicotinoids are only one of the many harmful chemicals we spray on our food. Bees and other pollinators face many other problems with our industrial food system. Food deserts, genetically modified plants, other pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, the list goes on and on!
Check out my response to the report. If you would like to add your two cents, follow these steps. It could be your civic engagement of the day!
"Please provide your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 December 2013, and include the following information:
- Your full name and organization;
- Your phone number; and,
- Your complete mailing address or email address."
After reading through the Health Canada's report for Neonicotinoid Pesticides and their harmful affects on the bee (and other insect) populations, I have a number of concerns I would like to address.
1. The 4 measures you suggest implementing are reactive and not proactive. What I mean is that this report does not cover how the bee population will be improved. Instead, it outlines what measures will be taken to least negatively affect the bee population. While I appreciate the efforts, the put the onus on farmers to buy new/more equipment to poison the bees and not to stop poisoning the bees.
2. I would like to know more about the 2nd protective measure outlined as "Requiring adherence to safer seed planting practices". What are these safer seed planting practices? How do they affect the pesticide application?
3. I am assuming that if neonicotinoid pesticides were banned completely, a new super harmful pesticide would take its place (as monocropping requires pesticides and herbicides to maintain the continued process of yielding monoculture crops). Has there been an exploration of mandatory integration of sustainable, organic practices in this case? I do understand that sustainable, organic argiculture typically takes more time than monocropping, but by shifting more and more to organic and sustainable agricultural practices would mean that we would rely less on pesticides.
4. What will the enhanced warnings say on the seed packages? What is the proposed outcome of this endeavour? Will farmers be less likely to apply pesticide, given that the only thing that protects their crop yield from pests is toxic pesticide?
5. Who is required to provide value information for the support of continued need for neonicotinoid treatment? The farmers?
6. I would appreciate one measure being the promotion of bee health. Bee's are affected by a complex system of problems, it is not only the neonicotinoids that affect their health, but many other pesticides and "food" deserts (monocrops are not bee friendly territory). With this in mind, planning something such as mandatory 10% of all farming land must have pollinator and native friendly plants to promote the health of the bees. This would be a proactive measure.
Thank you for your continued effort on this issue, I am sure that you face many constraints when trying to solve agricultural issues and I can appreciate the difficulty of balancing these many issues.