As the decline of bees and pollinators has been a growing concern around the planet, Slow Food has joined a Europe-wide campaign aiming to ban pesticides, transform agriculture, save bees and conserve nature. Over the last weekend, Slow Food along with partner organizations presented the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save Bees and Farmers” by collecting signatures at the “Wir Haben Es Satt! (We are fed up!) demonstration in Berlin.
Over the years, Slow Food has been actively working to raise awareness of the dramatic decline of global bee populations and has been calling for an end to the use of harmful pesticides, as well as the biodiversity destruction associated with this decline.
“Only sustainable, pesticide-free, agroecological farming can preserve biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a solution to the challenges posed by climate change. We are joining a Europe-wide fight against synthetic pesticides which continue to destroy biodiversity and pose a deadly threat to bees and other pollinators. With the European Citizens’ Initiative, we are committed to enforcing sustainable, bee-friendly agriculture throughout Europe,” said Marta Messa, Slow Food International Councillor for Europe.
The ECI Campaign
A quarter of Europe’s wild animals are severely threatened, half of our natural sites are in unfavorable conditions, and ecosystem services are deteriorating. Meanwhile, millions of farmers are being squeezed out by unfair prices, a lack of political support and pressure from big corporations. Four million small farms disappeared between 2005 and 2016 across the EU. The ECI calls on the European Commission to introduce legal proposals to:
- Phase-out synthetic pesticides in the EU by 2035, with an 80% reduction by 2030, starting with the most hazardous, to become 100% free of synthetic pesticides by 2035;
- Restore biodiversity: restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas so that farming becomes a vector of biodiversity recovery;
- Support farmers in the transition: reform agriculture by prioritizing small-scale, diverse and sustainable farming, supporting a rapid increase in agroecological and organic practices, and enabling independent farmer-based training and research into pesticide- and GMO-free farming.
Over the course of this year, Slow Food will organize several online and offline activities to promote the ECI and raise awareness of the alarming decline of bees, with the biggest event taking place in Italy this April on the Slow Food Day 2020. If the ECI “Save Bees and Farmers” gathers one million signatures by September 2020, the EU Commission and Parliament must consider turning the campaign’s demands into law. There are 90 organizations from 17 EU countries taking part in the campaign so far.
Sign the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save Bees and Farmers”, here!
Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food Europe