A new United Nations scientific mega-report warns that the problem of shrinking populations of bees, butterflies and other pollinating creatures is taking place on such a wide scale that it risks harming the world’s food supply.
The AP reports: “The 20,000 or so species of pollinators are key to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of crops each year — from fruits and vegetables to coffee and chocolate. Yet 2 out of 5 species of invertebrate pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are on the path toward extinction, said the first-of-its-kind report.”
The study does not point to a single cause, but rather points to numerous contributing factors. The story reports: “Among the culprits: the way farming has changed so there’s not enough diversity and wild flowers for pollinators to use as food; pesticide use, including a controversial one, neonicotinoid, that attacks the nervous system; habitat loss to cities; disease, parasites and pathogens; and global warming.”
The report has been in the works for two years and involves scientists worldwide, working under the auspices of a number of U.N. agencies to assess the planet’s biodiversity. The report was approved today by a congress of 124 nations.