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My Turn: We must act to save our pollinators

For the Monitor
Published: 11/6/2019 6:30:22 AM

I am a proud descendant of the Blackfeet Nation. Like many of you, my upbringing allows me to be keenly aware of the sacred circle of life. Right now this circle is broken, and it affects our planet, ecosystem, food system, biodiversity, humanity, all species and Mother Earth.

We live in a time of dangerous change, and it is time to join together and save our one planet. Right now we are in the sixth mass extinction. It sounds overwhelming, but it is the truth.

David Festa shared this in his Environmental Defense Fund article headlined, “Humans are causing 1 million species to go extinct.” People may debate the exact number, but the fact that we are in this stage of loss is tragic. We need to stop our current trajectory to lessen the damage in the future or there will not be future generations.

The New York Times reported Nov. 27, 2018, on “the insect apocalypse.” It’s a part of the current worldwide loss, known as the sixth extinction, which is the sixth time in the Earth’s history that large numbers of species disappear in unusually rapid succession.

In the past, various studies have estimated the amount of time for us to try to overcome this is 10 to 12 years; another study stated that we have five years. Most recently Matt McGrath, a BBC environmental correspondent, wrote a story headlined, “Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months.”

This time the extinctions are not caused by asteroids but humans. Insects and especially pollinators, native and nonnative, are in danger. They are crucial to our survival. Pollinators support one in three bites of food we eat each day. We need these amazing pollinators to support and sustain our food system.

Alarmingly, the U.S. government is developing drone to technology to pollinate crops. In a 2012 article by Dave Goulson headlined, “Decline of Bees forces China’s apple farmers to pollinate by hand,” he shared that some orchards are being hand pollinated. To my knowledge this is still happening. This is a crisis, and the fact that humans need to do this is an alert to humanity and Mother Earth. In our country the EPA has just approved use of pesticides that are more harmful to bees, while in Europe a fourth neonic is being banned.

Sadly, in New Hampshire the rusty patched bumblebee is believed to be locally extinct. New Hampshire lawmakers are now working to pass legislation to address the crisis: House Bill 646-FN: “The Saving New Hampshire’s Pollinators Act.” Members of N.H. Save Our Pollinators Coalition and Non Toxic N.H. have collected more than 2,500 signatures in support of the bill. It recently passed the House Environment and Agriculture subcommittee. This was a first victory and now it moves to the executive session for a vote on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Legislative Lobby Room 303 in Concord.

Please attend and support the bill by wearing yellow and sharing your posters. This bill is championed by state Rep. Catherine Sofitikis, D-Nashua. We hope the bill passes this step and moves forward.

We need to take vital steps to protect our biodiversity and environment, especially pollinators. We must peacefully raise awareness and take positive action to preserve and protect all species, especially pollinators in the United States and globally.

As a fellow human being on this incredible planet, I implore all of you to take notice and action to help stop this extinction. We are indeed a threat to ourselves. I still believe in the innate goodness in humanity to care for all living things, including ourselves and our world.

(Fawn Gaudet of N.H. Save Our Pollinators Coalition lives in Rumney.)

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