SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With the holiday season upon us, Environment California outlined the many contributions that bees make toward the traditional holiday meal. The advocates are also raising awareness of the decline in these essential pollinators across the country.
Caramel apple pie, brussel sprouts, fruit cake and other staples wouldn’t be possible without pollinators. Most Americans find these foods delicious, and their key ingredients provide for a balanced diet. Overall, bees are responsible for one-in-three bites of food we eat.
“The holidays are an important time when we come together with family and friends to celebrate and reflect,” said Malia Libby, conservation associate with Environment California. “Bees rank at the top of the list of what we should be thankful for because of all the foods they provide. Without bees, our dinner tables would lack the hearty and colorful dishes that we always return to.”
The list of holiday-related foods that are reach our table that are either fully- or partially-pollinated by bees (or have bee-pollinated ingredients) include: apples, cranberries, onions, brussel sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, coffee, ice cream and other dairy foods (cows eat alfalfa).
Increasingly, habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use threaten the well-being of thousands of native bee species and the familiar honey bee. More than half of native bee species in North America are likely in decline and California beekeepers last year reported losing over 40% of their honey bee colonies. In addition to helping create bountiful harvests, bees are an important part of healthy ecosystems in California due to the numerous species that rely on them for food and pollination. The state is home to 1,600 species of native bees.
Environment California encourages Californians to plant native flowering plants in yards and gardens, skip pesticides wherever possible, consider purchasing organic foods and urge decision-makers to protect bees and pollinators.
“As we sip a glass of new year’s bubbles, we should toast to our pollinators and make a resolution to do what we can to save the bees,” said Environment California State Director Laura Deehan. “Whether that’s planting pollinator habitat in the spring, reducing pesticide use starting in the winter or calling our elected officials to take action at any time of year, we can address some of the hardest felt challenges bees are facing right here in California.”
Environment California is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.