General Mills is doing its darndest to put eyes on GM cereal boxes by hollering out a key ingredient that’s not in Honey Nut Cheerios any more:
Buzz. Buzz The Bee.
In a campaign that’s almost as deft with its hashes as we are (#ArentWeSoBloodyHumbleAbout #ItTakesAHiveAndTheOtherFunnyHashtagsWeDrop), GM’s #BringBackTheBee hash accompanies a white cut-out of where Buzz’s cartoony bod used to flit on Cherrios boxes. It’s the conglomerate’s not-so-small attempt—and maybe a little silly?—to bring attention to the United States’ dwindling population of a healthy handful of bee species that pollinate a kajillion handfuls of food.
But the attempt might’ve worked.
In January 2017, it was widely reported that the 40-year-old Endangered Species Act (EDA)—signed to protect innocents from extinction in the animal, insect and plant world—might go bye-bye if our new administration had anything to do with it. (Full Fairness Disclosure: For at least the last 8 years, Republicans have tried to loosen the EDA’s grip on rules and regs that could make way for more logging, drilling and other digging activities that twitterpate the hearts of non-Democrats far and wide.)
If the EDA was going down the proverbial toilet, so would the fight to add the rusty patched bumble bee—a bee that in the last 20 years has seen a 95 percent existence drop despite once being prolific across 13 mid-Western states. But that didn’t happen. And on March 21, ol’ Rusty beecame the first bee protected by the EDA when it was added to the U.S. endangered species list. Finally, after being fought for by the Xerces Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council—two U.S. orgs that, much like the EDA, exist to protect bugs and stuff—Rusty’s chance of survival just got a solid.
If all of this is still a little Wha? to you—if Colony Collapse Disorder isn’t the CCD you’re used to, and you still wonder what the bee fuss is all about, here’s why this is a BFD:
Every third bite or sip you take today is thanks to a bee.
Let that sink in.
Aside from the water you drink to, yaknow, survive…bees are the next most important thing in the ecosystem—in your ecosystem—beecause you’d starve without them. Yet the plight of one of the most important cogs in the universe’s machine of life continues.
Both sides of The Great Bee Argument include what we refer to as “The P. vs. P. Debate”: Is it pesticides or parasites that do the bee killing? Each contests it’s the other. And though everyone has an opinion they have a right to, it’s pure fact that more than three dozen bumble bees (and another few hives’ worth of honey bee species) are pollinators, which means many of them need help. Many.
Thankfully, people are paying attention. This front-section feature from a February Sunday New York Times by Stephanie Strom is nice storytelling that tells a newsy tale about farmer Bret Adee and his family in Bakersfield, Calif., doing their part with human-directed crop pollination to help these little fuzzy buggers live amid the changing landscape of farming.
(We think you should read it. Click here.)
Plus, as we wrote about in our Earth Day piece, places like the Honeybee Conservancy are also out there doing what it takes to inform all of us everyday folk what we can do to try to help our honey-loving friends.
So with this new endangered designation, we can go into April knowing that the administration and the entities that filed the attention-bringing suit in D.C. district court all helped give the bee a badly needed wing-up. It’s something we here at The Juice Standard think about with near cyclical, sacred-ical consistency…saving the bees. Beecause honestly, it’s this profound and really this simple: #SaveTheBeeSaveYourself.