STUDENT VIEWPOINT: Bees: can’t live without them

By Cole Campbell

Bees: they sting, they bite, and they also pollinate 70% of our major food crops. We’re losing 30-40% of our bees and this could cause a global food shortage. In order to maintain enough bees for our crops, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, must require farmers to use bee safe products.
To say it simply, without bees, “most plants would be unable to grow, grasslands would become barren and large-scale desertification will take place. Landslides would wipe out villages in one sweep. Ultimately, Earth will become one large plastic-laden desert.” So, in addition to the loss of bees, humans could also lose parts of the environment that are required for life, and eventually people may not be able to grow non-pollinator plants. Without these plants, the earth could even reach a point where there is an oxygen deficiency. Consequently, losing our bees may be the first small domino in a massive chain that could possibly result in the ultimate extinction of humans. Humans are poking a bear and, as with all bears, it is only a matter of time before it strikes.
In addition, “If losses continue at the 33 percent level, it could threaten the economic viability of the bee pollination industry.” Consequently, with bee depopulation becoming ever more present, even if it doesn’t kill off all of earth’s bees, the pollination process would become more expensive and in turn, food prices would rise. This makes saving the bees an economic, practical, and necessary need. These are some of the reasons why the EPA needs to ban harmful pesticides. The question as to why haven’t we spent more money and effort trying to save the bees is just begging to be asked.
Some would argue that a ban on pesticides would cause crops to die and food prices to rise. However, what they fail to realize is that “honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops,” which is much worse than banning pesticides.
Moreover, in terms of the bee crisis, ‘“The big point is there’s a whole lot of factors that are contributing to it,” says Keith Delaplane, director of the University of Georgia Honey Bee Program. “Part of the work has been trying to untangle that knot.”’ Therefore, one of our biggest problems is figuring out what solution to use. Meanwhile, the problem continues to escalate becoming more of an issue with each passing day; if we don’t act soon, then the problem may become irreversible and we might lose our bees forever.
Instead of waiting, Americans should do as some parts of Europe have done and ban harmful pesticides. Everyone must do what they can to help save the bees because if they go, we go with them. Equally important, my father, Marco Campbell, is a beekeeper. When asked about the problem of bee extinction, he said, “The Bees are the canary in the coal mine.” This refers to how canaries were used in the coal mines to signal when the air was toxic and the humans were in danger by the bird dying. He then explained how the bees dying off should be a signal to humans that unless something is done, we might all perish.
Sashabaw Middle School seventh grade students in Allie Dennis’ English Language Arts class are writing proposals in the form of newspaper op-ed articles.

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