Bees, birds, butterflies, and even bats are all important pollinators; and without them, dependent crops would not be able to thrive. The production of nuts and seeds for the oils of sunflowers and coconuts provide much of the world with necessary fat intakes. And according to the White House, “Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.”
Following enormous pressure from environmental groups such as the Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network, Sierra Club, and the Center for Environmental Health, as well as fresh regulatory policy in Europe, President Obama has launched an array of measures to address declining pollinator populations, with close to 50 million dollars devoted to the initiative. The White House has brought together the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to co-chair the new Pollinator Health Task Force. Its aim is to coordinate efforts between government, the private sector, farmers, researchers, and NGO’s to “understand, prevent, and recover from pollinator losses.” Key issues singled out for more research involve habitat losses, the bees’ diets, infestations, genetic diversity, and pesticides.
Importantly, the United States government has stopped short of a ban on neonicotinoids, the controversial pest control currently facing a two-year ban across the European Union. The U.S. has sided with opponents of a ban, citing a lack of conclusive evidence.