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Posts Tagged ‘Dave Goulson’

bees

Though we know the importance of bees we seem unable to decide to do something effective to turn their decline into thriving. There’s an interesting interview about this issue on the Salon news site. Below is a short extract: to find out the simple solution see link.

The only thing stopping us from protecting pollinators is greed, Dave Goulson tells Salon

The world’s bees are in trouble, and progress in addressing the underlying problems contributing to their demise, from the use of dangerous pesticides to the destruction of their habitat, is painfully slow.

But it still isn’t too late, a hopeful, if not terribly optimistic Dave Goulson tells Salon.

A professor of biology at the University of Sussex and the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Goulson knows better than anyone just how massive the challenges are, but also how capable we are of meeting them — if we only muster the will. His work studying the bees’ plight was the focus of his first book, “A Sting in the Tale” — Salon spoke with him about it last May. His latest book, “A Buzz in the Meadow,” has as its centerpiece a small part of the solution: Goulson writes of his decade-plus-long project of transforming a rundown farm in rural France into a thriving meadow, which teems with life of all sorts and has become a haven for wild bees.

Salon caught up with Goulson to gauge the current situation and for a much-needed reminder that saving the bees isn’t as impossible as it may seem. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What’s been happening in the bee world since we talked a year ago? Have there been any big developments in research or policy that stand out to you?

The thing that everyone talks about is all the pesticide-related stuff that’s rumbling on and on and on. There’s a lot of politics there. Obama has just announced his bee care bill, and in Ontario they’re having a big battle over proposals to withdraw neonicotinoids or reduce their use by 80 percent. Over here in Europe we’ve got this moratorium in place, but it runs out this year and no one knows what to do next, so there’s a pitched battle running at the moment between the agrichemical industry and the environmentalists and scientists all caught up in the middle of it. So that’s all been interesting and messy.

I was wondering what you thought about Obama’s new pollinator plan. I know it emphasizes bee habitat and creating these pathways for bees, which you talk about in the book as extremely important to be focusing on.

I guess I’m naturally a bit of a skeptic as to the value of big documents produced by politicians, because they often don’t seem to actually result in much real action. If they really produce, now I forget of the top of my head how many million hectares of habitat it was supposed to be, was it 5 million or something?

Yes, 5 million.

If that actually happens, and it’s good habitat for bees, that would be amazing. That really would massively help. But talk is all very well; it doesn’t help anybody or anything, so it would be nice to see whether it really works.

I suppose I also thought it was a little bit weak on the pesticide side of things. It was just really saying, “We need to do loads more research.” Well, I do research, so you’d imagine I would be saying, “Yes! Lots more money, that’s what us scientists need.” And of course, that would be nice. But actually, I think we know enough to do something, so some more specific measures to reduce pesticide use would have been nice. But perhaps that was further than they were willing to go.

Are there any areas where you might suggest that, so far as pesticides go, more research really could be useful? Or is this just buying time? That’s what it sounded like to me.

I think it is buying time rather than biting the bullet, because we all know that we use too many pesticides and it’s not really good for the environment. But nobody really wants to tackle it, because there are such powerful vested interests and so much money is made from selling them that it’s politically a difficult one to take on. So it’s an easy option to say “Let’s do more research.”

Our meadow

Our feeble attempt at a meadow

 

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