Activists deliver 20,000 petition signatures to save the bees

For Immediate Release

Boston – Environment Massachusetts delivered a petition signed by 20,000 Massachusetts residents today asking state leaders to restrict the use of bee-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

“A world without bees would mean a world without many of our favorite summer foods,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “Across Massachusetts, people are speaking out to save our pollinators.”

Across the country, millions of bees are dying off and bee colonies are in distress due to a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. While many factors are implicated in colony collapse disorder, one cause is the increased use of neonicotinoid insecticides, or neonics.

The petition asks state leaders to restrict the use of neonics. Representative Carolyn Dykema and Senator Jamie Eldridge have filed bills (H.763, S.463) to reduce the use of these pesticides.

“Virtually every one of my colleagues in the Legislature has heard from residents who understand the gravity and urgency of the threats to pollinator health,” said Representative Carolyn Dykema. “This is thanks to grassroots advocacy from students, beekeepers, scientists, farmers, and thousands of concerned citizens across Massachusetts who care about our environment, our food supply, and our bees. The visibility generated in local communities by Environment Massachusetts canvassers is another crucial step as we work to pass common-sense legation to limit the use of these harmful pesticides.”

"Neonicotinoids are destroying honey bee colonies across the planet and threatening the health of our ecosystems,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge. "Having fewer bees to pollinate our crops will have a catastrophic impact on our food supply and damage local economies. I’m grateful to everyone who is organizing the movement to ban pesticides, and to the 20,000 people who signed this petition.”

Bees pollinate 71 of the 100 most common food crops in the world, including apples, pumpkins, cranberries, blueberries, and other crops grown in Massachusetts.

Officials in Maryland, Connecticut, and Vermont have passed laws to reduce neonicotinoid use.

“Every few weeks we see another peer-reviewed study supporting restrictions on neonics,” said Marty Dagoberto, Policy Director of NOFA/Mass. “There’s no justification to keep these toxic chemicals on store shelves for untrained consumers. It’s time for the legislature to restrict use to licenced and trained pesticide applicators.”

Since April, staff members working with Environment Massachusetts have knocked on doors in communities across Massachusetts, holding tens of thousands of one-on-one conversations to educate the public about the threats facing bee populations and build grassroots support for action.