Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bees, Neonicotinoids, and My Short Circuited Brain

While talking to a friend the other night, she brought up an NPR story that she thought I'd be interested in.

"I figured I should point this out to you, but I'm sure you probably already know about it."

Is the sky blue?  I thought.

She was referring to a story from all things considered, entitled "Are Agriculture's Most Popular Insecticides Killing Our Bees?"  The story talked about clothianidin and thiamethoxam, two systemic pesticides referred to as neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids are pesticides that coat seeds to be planted.  As the seed sprouts, it takes the pesticide in through its roots, turning itself into a living bug killer.  That is, the entire plant has pesticides running through it, killing the pests that decide to munch on it.

So what's the problem?  I mean, aside from that whole annoying bit about ingesting a plant that was designed to kill...

Well, more and more research is coming out that talks about the dangers of neonicotinoids. Specifically, it identifies the dangers to bees, our top pollinators.  Sure, there are other pollinators.  But bees are the most tireless pollinators out there.  A loss of bees would be tragic.

And that loss is currently happening on a large scale, due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as I've mentioned previously.  There's a growing hill of evidence that identifies neonicotinoids as a major cause.

Take, for example, the research done by Christian H. Krupke, et al.  

In an attempt to learn about the causes of honeybee colony collapse, he concentrated on pesticide use, and found clothianidin chemical residue on not only the maize it was supposed to be discovered on, but other plants, as well.  Dandelions, a favorite for honeybees, were specifically mentioned.

Not only that, but there was residue in dead bees that surrounded the hives, unplanted fields, and even inside the hives, themselves.

Holy crap!

Now, as someone who finds funding information to be important, I looked into the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), top research contributor.  I wanted to see just which way they swing, in terms of corporate influence.

The result was mind-boggling.  I mean, totally and completely, overwhelmingly surprising.  My eyes just about bugged out of my face.

And that's an understatement.

For the most part, it's as green as I expected, partnering with entities like Burt's Bees and the World Wildlife Fund.  But!

And here's the weird part...

It is also partnered with Syngenta Crop Protection.  Let me say that again... SYNGENTA.

The company that claims organics are bad for the planet.

The biotech giant.

Syngenta Crop Protection: The pesticide manufacturer

Oh, dear lord...  I was so confused.

Maybe the study wasn't slanted toward the green side of the fence as I thought.  Not only that, but their insecticide ACTARA is a neonicotinoid!  Seriously... it contains thiamethoxam.


I think my little logic bubble just burst into about a bazillion pieces.  Why in the world would an organization that gets money from a Biotech giant which produces neonicotinoids fund a study that actually speaks out against neonicotinoids?!

I feel my brain short circuiting...

"I figured I should point this out to you, but I'm sure you probably already know about it."

Is the sky blue?  I thought.

Evidently, no.

The sky is not blue.  It simply looks blue due to the scattered light passing through the air... as evidenced by how pale the sky looks at the horizon.

Note to self: An arrogant, know-it-all attitude is not wise.

No comments:

Post a Comment