Target: Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leaf
Goal: Applaud the restriction of bee-killing pesticides
A new regulation passed in Ontario, Canada, restricts the use of toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been linked to declining honeybee populations around the world. Ontario plans to decrease its neonicotinoid use by 80 percent by 2017, and could begin to implement restrictions as early as the summer of 2015. A previous petition on ForceChange called for the pesticides’ prohibition, and while the toxic chemicals have not been banned entirely, their restriction is a huge step in the right direction.
The three-point plan laid out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs intends to restrict the use of neonicotinoids by 80 percent over the next three years, limit the number of honeybee deaths during the winter by 15 percent by 2020 and develop a comprehensive plan to promote the health of the pollinators. The ministry says the initiative will ensure a “productive agricultural sector” and protect “healthy ecosystems.”
A survey conducted in Ontario to determine the rate of honeybee deaths over the winter found that 58 percent of the province’s honeybees died over the 2013-14 winter, a record high at more than three times the average rate of deaths in all other provinces in the country. The pesticides were found to have a harmful effect on all pollinators, but neonicotinoids are specifically harmful to honeybees. The toxic pesticides are typically used to treat corn seeds and soybean crops. As well as killing bees, the chemicals cause disorientation in the pollinators, which can lead to colony failure.
Rapidly declining bee populations correlate directly to agricultural production. Without healthy pollinators, crops fail. Our pollinators represent a vital connection in our food chain and without them we cannot survive. Support and commend Ontario’s decision to drastically restrict its neonicotinoid use and take responsibility for the well-being of these instrumental insects by signing the petition below.
Dear Minister Leaf,
The use of neonicotinoid pesticides has been linked to the rapid decline of honeybee populations around the world. Ontario’s record 58 percent death rate among honeybees over the 2013-14 winter is a clear sign that something must be done to save them. Thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario’s responsibility was not ignored.
Ontario has become the first North American jurisdiction to restrict the use of neonicotinoids to help stem this tragic loss. The government’s comprehensive plan to limit the chemicals and restore a healthy ecosystem should stand as a role model for how the world must go forward in order to save global agriculture.
I support and applaud this monumental step to saving our tiny, irreplaceable friends.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ricks via Wikimedia Commons
Original Petition: Protect Honeybees from Toxic Chemicals