Thursday, November 19, 2015

The bees make a comeback in Europe

I note with interest some news about the bee collapse of late. It appears that in Europe 3 neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) were banned a few years ago. Now the bees appear to be recovering. This didn't just happen once. This has been observed twice.

A ban of these insecticides started in Italy in 2010, following in the footsteps of France and Germany. Following that ban, Italy saw their bee populations resurge. Then in 2013, a Europe-wide ban was instituted, prohibiting the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. Since then, farmers in Europe have seen a resurgence of their bee populations.

Here's something really interesting. "The Genetic Literacy Project" is here to tell us that the ban has done nothing for the bees. They claim that those neonics are safe after all. So I did a little research and found that their domain name is owned by ESG Mediametrics. That company is an environmental consultancy. Here's the dirt on those guys: Monsanto.

So let's connect the dots. All of these insecticides have patents behind them. Patents create nice private monopolies and that means money. This money is then used to lobby for looser regulations and lax enforcement. The same money is also used to sway the media with advertising dollars, discouraging major media from exposing the problems with neonics.

Interestingly, there is much confusion on the subject of neonics here in America. There is no consensus among national government leaders regarding whether or not we should ban neonics. That's probably because Monsanto has managed to find a few well placed seats in the FDA. This is how big money works in politics.

Take the big money out of politics and you tend to get better results. Here's an article at the American Prospect that did a nice survey of campaign finance around the world. The takeaway from the article is this: In America, we have taken the position that free speech is the only thing that matters, regardless of the integrity of the speech or the source. In other words, if you have the money, you have the right to say it to promote your campaign.

To put it differently, when a company finds a way to make money, that just happens to harm the environment, the money tends to cloud judgment. We've seen this with oil, coal and gas, particularly so with fracking. It's no different with pesticides and GMOs. But if you have the money, you can use it to stay in business with help from the government, despite any harm to the environment.

The reason neonics aren't getting clobbered with the banhammer here as they are in Europe is because of the way we finance campaigns. Science has little to do with how the issue is handled in the US. This is what we can expect from a Congress that elects someone like Ted Cruz to oversee NASA. It's all about the money, honey.

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