Think twice before swatting that bee at your Fourth of July barbeque –bees are in trouble and they're getting some big-hitting supporters behind the cause. Colony Collapse Disorder, a serious problem threatening honey bees, is making headlines again this week with a number of new announcements around the issue.
In addition to a study released this week revealing many "bee friendly" plants may actually be killing bees, the insects once again moved into the national spotlight when the White House announced it would launch a task force to address the diminishing bee population. Although the plight of the bees may seem trivial, they, and other pollinators, "contribute more than $24 billion to the United States economy" and help to enable production of "87 of the leading 115 food crops" globally. Whole Foods, a long-time bee advocate, recently partnered with General Mills* around the launch of Cascadian Farm's new Buzz Crunch Honey Almond cereal, donating $1 of every box sold at Whole Foods Markets to the Xerces Society, a pollinator conservation organization. Whole Foods Markets across the nation also staged "Human Bee-Ins" last weekend, educating consumers and providing easy calls-to-action, such as planting native flowers and avoiding pesticides. In addition, the grocery giant is responsible for an effective campaign highlighting what our food system would be like without bees – and it's not pretty.
Although Häagen-Dazs may have kick-started bee conservation awareness back in 2008, many companies are realizing how the health of the bee population hits the bottom line, and health of our nation, in a very real way. These companies have become valuable and critical ambassadors, pushing the issue all the way to the oval office. Luckily, companies are also providing a number of tangible ways consumers can participate in creating a solution, from raising awareness on Pinterest, to triggering nonprofit donations, all the way to thinking differently about the seeds and flowers we plant in our own gardens.
Prove Your Purpose will be taking next week off to celebrate Independence Day. We wish you a safe and happy holiday!