Bees and pesticides

I am not against pesticides purely because I don’t want them in my food or essential oils. I am also not doing it solely on the grounds that they damage the bees I keep or even that they are threatening the survival of some species of bumblebee and other at risk pollinating insects.

I am against them and in particular the environment minister’s decision to allow neonicotinoid pesticides to be used despite the EU ban because they are being used to shore up a farming system that is unsustainable in the longer term.

This is the petition on the government e-petitions website on the specific issue.

Why do I say that it shores up an unsustainable system?

I say it because the web of life is far more intricate than many  or even most realise. The monocrop deserts of East Anglia invite, “pest” species in by providing banquets for them without any checks and balances. Smaller fields with wider margins, intercropping and other holistic practices increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, increasing fungal and microbial activity making for healthier crops. They also provide a diversity of species so that pests when they arrive will be balanced out by other species eating them.

The ever decreasing amount of soil on these mega-farms leads to increased risk of flooding in heavy rain, increased susceptibility to drought. There is also a problem with nitrates leaching into rivers and groundwater.

For as long as the system is biased in favour of the use of chemicals mostly made from oil taken out of the ground, the system is unlikely to change. While there are small farmers making the changes necessary and improving the soil that is the foundation of their livelihood, this is not enough. The system needs to change so that the balance is more in favour of the small farmer who looks after the environment.

This is why I am urging everyone who reads this to sign the petition if they are in the UK and also to write to their member of parliament to ask them to question the minister for the environment to ask her not only to re-instate the ban on these poisons but also to ask why she is so intent on destroying the environment she is minister for!