At first thought, some people might be OK with the notion. Some might imagine more peaceful outdoor picnics with less swatting and more eating. Others might be relieved at the thought of no more bee stings during those summer months in the garden. But, those who are aware of how much bees actually contribute to our everyday lives might find a world without the buzzing concerning.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), bee pollination is responsible for $15 million in added crop value and it contributes to one in every three bites of food we take. Since bees are pollinators, they help plants reproduce by carrying the pollen from plant to plant. Without honeybees, our supply of foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries would be drastically different.
However, honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) caused by the use of pesticides which makes bees weaker and more susceptible to viruses and parasites. In fact, the number of honeybee colonies has dropped from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today. The infographic below illustrates the importance of the problem and it’s effects on our food supply.
With all of this in mind, one group of dedicated Intel employees wanted to help.
Last month, the team installed five bee boxes, housing a total of 200,000 bees, on the Folsom, Calif. Intel campus. To share knowledge about honeybees and what we can do to protect them, the team hosted a beekeeping class for employees and has planned a school outreach program for this fall. Check out the project’s Facebook album for photos. Thanks to this initiative, Intel has become the first high-tech company to receive a “bee friendly” certification from the Partners for Sustainable Pollination.
The effort is funded through Intel’s Sustainability in Action grant program, where employees can submit project ideas that foster environmental sustainability worldwide. In 2011, Intel provided $125,000 in funding for nine employee projects—including the installation of a rainwater harvesting project at a school in Israel, and design of a zero-emissions heating and cooling control and supply system for a local community building in China.
You can take part in helping the honeybee population by making small changes like planting more “bee friendly” plants.
Is your community involved in reviving its local bee population? Share your story in the comments section below.
Infographic Courtesy FFunction (www.ffctn.com).