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Environment California

Environment California to take the sting out of bee-killing pesticides in Marin County

In support of state legislation and hoping to inspire more Californians to save the bees, staffers from Environment California will knock on doors in Marin County neighborhoods to visit with residents in the coming weeks. The group’s grassroots campaign is in support of a bill, AB 2146 by Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, that aims to ban some of the worst uses of a class of bee-killing insecticides called neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for short.

“California is home to roughly 1,600 species of native bees and stunning wildflower-filled landscapes. But there is also a sense that we can do more to protect the natural world around us,” said Julia Smith, a canvasser and current student at American University. “We’re out knocking on doors to educate people about the need for California to take action to save bees.”

Starting in 2016, as evidence came in on the dangers of neonics, states began to adopt new laws and policies to protect bees from these bee-killing pesticides. Maryland and Connecticut led the way, and five other eastern states followed in the years since: Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey and New York. While California often leads on enacting environmental policies, the Golden State would only be the eighth state to take this much-needed policy and the first outside of the east coast.

Threats to bee populations have dire consequences for California’s unique ecosystems and food production. Nearly a quarter of native bee species are at risk of extinction. Globally, 90% of flowering plants depend on animal pollinators, including bees. California’s many bee species are regular visitors to backyard and community gardens.

Additionally, climate change and habitat loss are additional factors that hurt bees, and these factors interact with pesticides to affect bees’ abilities to adapt, forage for food and navigate. With legislation pending, residents of Marin County might soon find bee enthusiasts navigating the city’s streets, raising awareness for this issue.

“To save the bees, we need California’s lawmakers to hear from their constituents back home on this important legislation. We’re looking forward to talking to tens of thousands of constituents from Marin County and throughout the state about the need to ban the worst uses of neonics,” said Laura Deehan, state director for Environment California.

Environment California works for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the state put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy.