Danielle Sepulveres
March 18, 2016 2:10 pm
Getty Images/ Frank Bienewald

“Why are so many bees dying?” Chances are you’ve asked that question or, at the very least, overheard that question.

The bee decline is staggering. In 2015, 5,000 beekeepers reported losing 42.1% of their colonies over a 12-month span. Bee expert Dennis vanEngelsdorp put the big picture of bee decline into perspective when he told the Associated Press, “Everything falls apart if you take pollinators out of the game. If we want to say we can feed the world in 2050, pollinators are going to be part of that.” Now big companies are adding their voices to the cacophony of environmentalists and experts who are trying to warn us about the bee decline. Companies likes Burt’s Bees and General Mills are putting out bee-helping calls to action to their costumers, in the hopes of helping stop the rapid mass death.

So why are bees dying? Some of the culprits cited for this devastating loss include global warming, pesticide use, and not enough wildflowers for pollinators to utilize as food, among a variety of other factors.

So why is this important? The possibility of bee extinction directly effects our food supply with the potential for drastic shortages when it comes to feeding the world. This leaves the door open to a risk for widespread malnutrition and detrimental economic impacts on developing countries that rely on crops.

Which is why both Burt’s Bees and General Mills are launching initiatives to combat this looming problem.

Burt’s has launched a two-part plan with Lea Michele as their spokesperson. On Twitter and Instagram, simply drop the letter “b” from the text in your posts and use the hashtag #BringBackTheBees. The company pledges to plant 1,000 wildflowers for each post that follows these instructions. The campaign is currently underway and will wrap up in June (or when they hit one billion flowers).

You can also purchase one of the three “cause” lip balms which also guarantees that 1,000 wildflowers will be planted in your name.

Similarly, General Mills Canada is looking to capture the public’s attention with some creative branding; they’re removing the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot from their cereal boxes. Emma Eriksson, director of Marketing for General Mills Canada told Adweek, “This is the first time in the brand’s history that we’ve taken ‘Buzz’ off the box. One-third of the foods we depend on for our survival are made possible by the natural pollination work that bees provide. With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers — one for every person in Canada.”

General Mills has also set up a microsite to give tips on saving the bees, resources for free seeds to plant wildflowers, and a chance to enter a contest to win a wildflower garden makeover valued at $5,000. Independently, Bette Midler is another celebrity active in the pursuit to protect the bee population. She often takes to Twitter to share her views against harmful pesticides.

Actor Tim Guinee (known for Hell on Wheels, The Good Wife, Homeland, Iron Man, 99 Homes and various other projects) has taken his bee love a step further. He is a beekeeper who has made it a point to educate the public on the importance of curtailing this perilous decline. You can reach out and ask him bee questions on Twitter.

It’s important that we pay attention to this bee issue today. The predicted fallout for communities across the globe is severe if the bee population continues to die off. If all that is not enough to get your attention, just know that coffee and chocolate are listed as two of the top products to be impacted by bee loss. Check out all these important initiatives, and let’s help save the *ees. The world needs ’em.

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