The Bees Want You -- Enlist Today!

AROUND THE WORLD honey bees and other life-sustaining pollinators have been disappearing. Beekeepers in Canada have suffered tremendous losses and many face losing their farms, homes and businesses. Scientists are calling the recent bee carnage a second Silent Spring -- referring to Rachel Carson’s landmark book documenting the near extinction of birds of prey as a result of the pesticide DDT.

Testing has documented the presence of neonicotinoid pesticides in up to 90% of the bee deaths—and honey bees are just the tip of the iceberg. What other insects and birds have ingested neonicotinoid pesticides? No one knows as they haven’t been monitored like the bees. Put simply: the extent of the damage caused by neonicotinoid pesticides remains unclear.

Should we be concerned? Yes, and not just for the health of our bee friends! Over 40% of the world’s food production DEPENDS on bees and other insects for pollination.

Neonicotinoid pesticides were developed to replace insecticides like DDT and were supposed to be ‘better for the environment’. Manufactures claimed the new pesticides would be more targeted and only effect insect pests. #Fail. It was untrue, and if basic studies to determine their chronic toxicity had been done (like they were supposed to) we would have known that a long time ago.

The reality is Health Canada approved neonicotinoids in 2004 by employing a bureaucratic trick which allowed companies to bypass testing, and has been continuously renewing their “conditional approval” ever since. It is outrageous that the federal department of health never required these essential studies be conducted prior to authorization of the neonicotinoid pesticides in the first place, and more outrageous now that they still refuse to act despite the growing body of globally documented evidence concerning bee carnage.

The European Union placed a 2-year moratorium on neonicotinoid pesticides so that proper testing could finally be carried out. Canada should do the same, but instead we have promised to ‘think about it’ for the next four years. This wilful blindness could result in the death of 100 million bees, insects and birds.

On April fool’s day we launched a spoof website ( to draw attention to the dire situation and the fact the federal government was refusing to act. To keep the momentum going we now have a Hazzzmat T-shirt! Everyone who’s seen them thinks they are awesome and will be a great conversation starter and way to raise awareness. When your friends ask about your shirt, you can let them know our bee friends are in peril and tell them to visit the #SaveTheBees campaign webpage.


In the year since Sierra Club Canada Foundation launched the #SavetheBees campaign, we have created an army of Canadians marching together to win a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. We have marshalled 10,000 letters to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Along with the Ontario BeeKeepers’ Association and Sumofus we gathered over 90,000 names on petitions. We presented scientific evidence to the Ontario Bee Health Working Group and the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee and have done COUNTLESS media interviews. All of this was made possible by your individual donations.

The only thing our army is missing is a uniform way for all us to proclaim our support for action against bee killing pesticides. Now we have one -- and it’s made of organic pesticide free cotton!

Be the first person on your block to wear one. All proceeds go to the #SaveTheBees campaign! It’s not only a great way to show solidarity with the bees, it makes a wonderful gift as well!



John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
412-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog

P.S. – You can also help the bees by texting “SIERRA” to 45678 to make a $10 donation. Do it twice to donate $20. Thanks for supporting the #SaveTheBees campaign! It’s only possible because of YOUR donations.