There are over 250 species of bee in Britain, including honey bees, over 20 species of bumble-bees, and many solitary bee species. Bees are vital for pollinating our fruits and vegetables, and by pollinating wild flowers they are also key to the wider ecosystems of our towns and countryside. But bees are declining – some species of bumble-bee have become extinct, and many other species are on the danger list.
They causes are complex, but include the intensification of agriculture that leaves no room for the wildflowers on which bees feed; pesticides that harm bees and accelerate the decline of wildflowers; and the loss of important bee habitat to development. Climate change is a factor too – witness the impact on bees of the awful weather in 2012.
Friends of the Earth is running a campaign, the Bee Cause, which aims to press the government to make the bigger policy changes we need to halt bee decline, but also to give practical help to bees in our gardens, towns and villages. Friends of the Earth is giving away packets of wildflower seeds to anyone who can create a bee-friendly wildflower patch of 5m2 or more in a public place such as a park, school ground, workplace or village green. Several churchyards are already involved in this project, and FOE is keen to work with Eco-congregations to encourage more.
For more info on the campaign visit the Bee Cause website, and for an application form for seeds or any queries e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Quentin Given on 0207 566 1418.