With federal protection for native pollinators lacking, some companies are taking their own steps to ensure bee conservation
Monday, June 15 kicked off National Pollinator Week 2015, a week-long celebration of the bees, butterflies, birds and bats that sustain our invaluable ecosystems. Designated by the Department of Agriculture eight years ago, Pollinator Week is an international effort of events, education and commemoration all aimed at spreading awareness of the plight of our pollinators.
Last month, one week after the Obama Administration released a Pollinator Action Plan that includes habitat and population expansion, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a supplementary set of regulations to provide extra stability to the species’ dwindling numbers. The new—and temporary—restrictions are meant to protect commercial honeybees (whose pollination contributes to a $14 billion industry) and ban the use of harmful pesticides in crucial spans of the season: when trees and other flowering plants are in bloom.
While both moves by the White House and the EPA are welcome, some environmental organizations are pointing out that these obvious restrictions fall far short of what is needed to curb the drastic decline of the bees—recent reports show in 2014, beekeepers lost 42 percent of their colonies, furthering the trend of previous years.
Though the problem can often seem far too vast to imagine creating an actionable difference, there are a few things you can do: as a citizen, contact your state representative and encourage your law-makers to support legislation that supports bees. As a homeowner, eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides, making sure the seedlings you purchase haven’t been treated with these harmful chemicals. As a gardener, include bright, “bee-friendly” plants among your annuals and herbs.
And as a consumer, keep your eye on labels when looking for honey and other products, and purchase from companies that are doing their part to protect the bees. Here are a few of our favorite “bee-friendly” brands:
Through initiatives like Go Wild and collaborations like the Pollinator Partnership, Burt’s Bees has been promoting pollinator health with educational outreach, research and conservation since 2008, when Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was first recognized. The company also has a “zero-waste” production policy, energy-efficient equipment and offsets carbon pollution through conservation credits.
Beeswax Lip Balms Priding themselves in transparency, Burt’s Bees gives a detailed ingredients list, including a brief history and the location of origin of each plant-based component. We love their original, classic Beeswax Lip Balm in the squeezable tube, which adds a pretty accent to your pout, while nourishing and moisturizing.
The Savannah Bee Company
Even before the proliferation of CCD, the Savannah Bee Company knew that the beekeeping profession and the insects themselves were underrated and under-appreciated. Through the Bee Cause Project, the company seeks to not only to spread awareness about the decline of honeybee population and their importance to our environment, agriculture and our entire ecosystem, but also to inspire a new generation of beekeepers.
The Honey Heel Balm With organic honey and coconut oil, this best-selling moisturizer naturally smoothes and softens dry, cracked skin—perfect for feet, elbows and other extra-parched patches. The balm is free from petroleum products and parabens, and comes in an easy-to-use applicator.
The leading British organic skin care company carries all the heavy-weights of sustainability accreditation: Fair Trade, Cruelty-Free, Forest Stewardship Council and more. Through its Bee Lovely line of creams and cleansers—made with organic honey sourced from sustainable, small-scale cooperatives in Nicaragua and Mexico—Neal’s Yard Remedies has raised more than $65,000 for various honeybee charities and collected petitions calling for the ban of the neonicotinoid class of insecticide.
NYR Organics’ Frankincense Collection of anti-aging products. Frankincense is one of the most important oils when fighting fine-lines and wrinkles. Plus, as an astringent, frankincense has powerful toning properties.
Founded in 1983 Melvita is an organic skin care line specializing in the cultural secrets of the French. ECOCERT and Cosmébio certified, Melvita carries bath and body products, fragrances, supplements, as well as toiletries for men. Through the Melvita Foundation, the company works to educate and support initiatives designed to safeguard the future of bees around the world.
Melvita’s Gentle Purifying Shampoo uses the deep-cleaning properties of organic rosemary and lemon essential oils and a non-sulfate foaming agent for a light, refreshing wash.