You are likely to have seen at least one of the numerous on-going campaigns highlighting the decline of bees across the UK and beyond. The exact causes are lacking in concrete evidence, but it appears so far that the factors include use of pesticides, imported and invasive pests, diseases and a lack of suitable flowers.
Interestingly, the bee population in London is not doing so badly! Typically London’s gardens and parks have longer flowering seasons than average and there are an ever increasing amount of beekeepers in the capital. The main worry is that such a high density of bees in one city will not be sustainable and that this will also allow disease to spread more easily across the entire population.
A lot of people ask: “why is this important to me? I don’t even like honey!” Well, bees are critical pollinators. To throw out some statistics, bees pollinate 70 of the 100 crop species that feed 90% of the entire world. It is estimated that honey bees alone are responsible for $30 billion annually in crops. But the problems wouldn’t end there. A loss of bees would result in the loss of the plants that they pollinate; this would affect the animals that eat those plants causing a chain reaction all the way up to us. You would soon notice the amount of fruit and veg available at your local supermarket cut by half and the world would quickly struggle to feed and maintain its 7.5 billion population.
What can you do to help?
Some City hives are managed by another fantastic social enterprise called The Golden Company. The Golden Co. works with young people from the local area, helping them into employment and providing them with accredited training and paid work placements.
Partnerships like these make a beehive project not only good for the environment and biodiversity, but a great community support venture combined.
That’s two wins for your CSR programme for the price of one.
Written by Jodie Thwaites, Finance and Technology Officer at Heart of the City.
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