Save the bees and the farmers

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salvemos a las abejas, agricultores, polinizadores, agricultura, pesticidas, biodiversidad, alimentos

European agriculture is reaching a dead end, it is essential that we save bees and farmers. Agricultural policies aimed unilaterally at increasing productivity through increased use of toxic agrochemicals have brought the ecosystem to the brink of collapse.

Day after day, the biodiversity that sustains our food systems is disappearing, seriously jeopardizing the future of our food, our livelihoods, our health and our environment.

The consequences for nature are disastrous: bees, butterflies and other insects are disappearing from our landscapes and birds, once widespread, have stopped singing in our fields. Our streams and rivers are being polluted and we are exposed to a daily cocktail of synthetic pesticides through our food.

Furthermore, the very survival of farming communities in Europe is also threatened by industrial agriculture. In the last ten years, on average, a farm went bankrupt every 3 minutes! True to the motto “grow or die“More and more land is managed by fewer and fewer companies, focused on performance and sales rather than quality. In contrast, small-scale farms are struggling to survive. With its disappearance, Europe’s rural areas lose jobs and their cultural heritage.

A different agricultural model is possible to save bees

Humanity is facing the greatest challenge in its history. With global climate change at an alarming rate and the unprecedented loss of biodiversity we face, the world’s food supply and, ultimately, the survival of our species is at stake. This worrying finding was recently reached independently by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, February 2019), the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES, May 2019) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity. Climate Change (IPCC, August 2019).

Scientists have left no doubt that the main causes of this global crisis are of human origin and that its solution requires rapid, profound and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. This includes a radical shift in global energy production towards renewable energy sources and a fundamental transformation of land use, especially in the way we produce our food.

The solution is agriculture that can thrive without toxic chemicals; an agriculture that, based on agricultural methods that respect biodiversity and the climate, guarantees adequate food for the population, not only today, but also in the future; an agriculture that preserves the invaluable diversity of natural environments, foods and rural traditions in Europe.

European Citizens’ InitiativeSave the Bees and the Farmers

save the bees, farmers, pollinators, agriculture, pesticides, biodiversity, food

Faced with this urgency, the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save the Bees and the Farmers” wants to become a catalyst for the transformation of agriculture, towards a model based on agroecological principles and, therefore, a promoter of biodiversity. This agricultural model preserves natural resources, prevents soil degradation, increases soil fertility and thus contributes to climate protection by absorbing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it releases. This agricultural model is the only possible response to the growing challenges posed by biodiversity and the climate crisis and, therefore, it is also the most adequate to guarantee the world’s food supply for future generations.

a dead end

European agriculture is reaching a dead end. Unilaterally oriented agricultural policies to increase productivity through increased use of toxic agrochemicals have brought the ecosystem to the brink of collapse. Day after day, the biodiversity that sustains our food systems is disappearing, seriously jeopardizing the future of our food, our livelihoods, our health and our environment.

More and more bees, butterflies and other insects are disappearing from European landscapes and birds – once so common – are less and less heard in the rural world. Rivers are being polluted and both the environment and the population are continuously exposed to a poisonous cocktail of synthetic pesticides.

Strategies to save bees and farmers

Eliminating pesticides in 15 years represents an ambitious challenge. The transition from our agricultural model to agroecology poses a challenge for all stakeholders, especially farmers, but with strong political will, the transition is within reach. In fact, the opportunity for slower change is long gone.

In 2008, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), initiated by the World Bank, urgently warned – in light of alarming predictions about the global state of climate and biodiversity – that business as usual is not an option. The scientists’ recommendations included a shift to low-input farming methods, promotion and development of agroecological methods, biological substitution of agrochemicals, and investments in plant breeding to improve resistance to temperatures and pests.

Unfortunately, these recommendations were largely ignored. Business as usual remains the main global agricultural policy, while the opportunity to implement measures to prevent further ecological collapse is dwindling. Today, we have to recognize that our generation is the last to have the power to take effective action to stop species extinction and climate change. If we do or not, it will determine whether the planet that allowed the development of our civilization will offer the same living conditions to future generations. It is our responsibility to guarantee it. With the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save the bees and the farmers” we want to contribute to the resolution of the current crisis.

In short, to save bees and farmers it is necessary:

Eliminate synthetic pesticides

Phase out synthetic pesticides in EU agriculture by 80% by 2030, starting with the most dangerous ones, to reach 100% by 2035.

restore biodiversity

Restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas so that agriculture contributes to the recovery of biodiversity.

Supporting farmers in the transition

Reform agriculture by prioritizing: small scale, diversity, sustainability and agroecological practices, as well as training and independent research in the field of agriculture free of pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms.

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