The honeybees are dropping like flies. It’s an unsustainable rate of loss, according to scientists. Their current population has dwindled to half of what it was in the 1940s, down to 2.5 million from 5 million in the US.
No one knows for certain why they’re dying, although recent studies indicate that pesticides may be a factor.
Whatever the cause, this is a very bad thing. An unhealthy bee population is a symptom of an unhealthy environment. Unfortunately, in a vicious cycle, fewer honeybees can exacerbate negative conditions.
Honeybees can increase coffee yields by as much as 50 percent. In fact, studies show that “bees consistently controlled over 36 percent of the total [coffea arabica crop] production.”
So how can we save the bees?
It’s surprisingly easy: One hive at a time.
The Bee Cause Project is proof that even small actions have the power to ripple forward and create meaningful change, that we can create reasons to move forward with optimism.
“We’re all in this together,” explains Tami Enright, executive director and master beekeeper.
Through collaborating with the community and connecting with supportive sponsors, the rapidly-growing nonprofit gives kids (and adults) a greater awareness of how they interact with the world. Currently, the Cause is on a mission to install bee hives in 1,000 schools.
“[Working with the bees] is often the first step in a more environmentally conscious direction,” Enright says. “It sparks so many conversations that can have such a large impact.”
This year, the NCA “Coffee Gives Back” Day of Service Project will take place at on March 12 at the Middleton Place Sanctuary in Charleston, SC. Participants will create a Bee Sanctuary so that the honeybees can thrive in a safe environment. Volunteers will also help build an outdoor Education Center and an Observation Hive, which will be donated to a local school.
Learn more: Native Pollinators on the Farm: What’s in it for Growers? – The Xerces Society