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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Opinion

Students should help save the bees


Bees are on the decline, and students need to act fast. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The number of bee colonies has been declining, and it is our fault.

Bees are to thank for about 80 percent of the pollination of flowering plants worldwide. In fact, one bee has the capability of pollinating 5,000 flowers in one day. Bees pollinate 70 of the top 100 human food crops, meaning they help our crops reproduce. So, bees are important.

Even though a bee’s sting can be dangerous, they do not actually want to sting. Bees only sting when they feel threatened and typically do not. I would punch and kick if I felt physically threatened, but I typically do not. Bees are nice, unless you irritate them.

Honey bees actually die when they sting, furthering the above argument that bees do not wish to sting unless they feel extremely threatened.

Scientists know bees are dying in masses in the U.S. from a variety of factors, ranging from the use of pesticides, habitat destruction, global warming and a few other reasons. The National Agricultural Statistics Service shows a honey bee decline from about six million hives to 2.4 million hives over a period of about 60 years.

In Germany earlier this year, people signed a petition calling for a referendum for environmental protection. The petition received the signature of over a million people to be submitted to the Bavarian legislature.

In fact, the movement was powerful enough to make Bavaria’s governing party, the Christian Social Union, make into law what the petition was asking for: to preserve the environment. The law will do this by increasing the number of natural meadows, limit pesticide use and prevent more losses of biodiversity. And this law would of course help save the bees, along with many other animals and environmental factors.

The movement in Germany gives hope to green movements elsewhere — including in Houston. Students should petition to ban the seven most dangerous pesticides from use on campus. We can even create a habitat — a bee habitat.

Bees that do not live in hives, or solitary bees, like to live in a tree stump or log, and having a water source helps.

Also, students should not kill unwanted bees. Instead, they should get a pest control company. Some beekeepers will remove them for free.

Students can even join the Office of Sustainability on the Sustainability Committee. On this committee, students can pitch their concerns and plans for initiatives for campus.

Another sustainability organization on campus that can have the goal of saving bees is the Metropolitan Volunteer Program. This program has a sector for environment and sustainability. Students should start an Adopt a Bee Hive event. Adopting a bee hive would consist of raising money to care for the bees in the Houston area.

Whether building a bee habitat or signing a campus law that protects bees by decreasing pesticide use, students should help save the bees.

Opinion editor Maryam Baldawi is a biology junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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