Updated - November 25, 2019.
A new European Citizens Initiative (ECI) is aiming at tackling some of the challenges of our modern agriculture. The Save Bees and Farmers initiative denounces the high impact that unsustainable agricultural practices have in our environment, sharply reducing biodiversity and even putting farmers and consumers at peril. Our agricultural system continues to hurt the balance of our ecosystems, silencing the song of birds and the buzzing of our bees. Therefore, several civil society organisations have come together in creating this new ECI. The initiative is officially registered, and signature collection begins today, November 25, 2019.
The objective of the ECI is to have a better and more sustainable agriculture in Europe. It is based on a simple principle, that the system is supposed to benefit farmers, consumers and the environment. It envisions an ideal for our food production system in which we have clean and sustainable processes. In particular, one that does not call for systematic reliance on agrochemicals, which increase risks for the environment and everyone in the production cycle.
As any other ECI, Save the Bees and Farmers depends on the support of citizens. The initiative is an instrument to amplify the voices of European citizens who are calling for change. By joining together with a single purpose, European citizens can make use of this democratic tool and demand the European Commission to make a legislative proposal.
Mankind faces the greatest challenge in its history. With the world climate changing at an alarming pace and the unprecedented loss of biodiversity we face, the world's food supply and ultimately the survival of our species are at stake. This disturbing finding was recently reached independently by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, February 2019), the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES, May 2019) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, August 2019). Scientists have left no doubt that the lead causes of this global crisis are man-made and that their solution requires rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. These include a radical shift in global energy production to renewable energy sources and a fundamental transformation of land use, especially in the way we produce our food.
In view of this urgency, the Save Bees and Farmers initiative wants to become a catalyst for the transformation of agriculture, towards a model that is based on agro-ecological principles and that therefore promotes biodiversity. Such an agricultural model preserves natural resources, prevents soil degradation, builds up soil fertility and thus contributes to climate protection by absorbing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it releases. Such an agricultural model is the only possible response to the growing challenges posed by the biodiversity and climate crises, and is therefore also best suited to securing the world's food supply for future generations.
Now is the time to act. The European Union is currently working on the reform of its Common Agricultural Policy, which dictates the rules in our agriculture and will also determine the subsidies scheme. Hence, the Save the Bees and Farmers ECI is set in place to start collecting at least 1 million signatures, beginning in November 25, 2019. We also need to inform as many people as possible, working together to make sure EU institutions hear their plead.
The ECI is focusing on three demands to help achieve a sustainable agricultural system:
Phase-out synthetic pesticides by 2035:
Phase-out synthetic pesticides in EU agriculture by 80% by 2030, starting with the most hazardous, to become 100% pesticide-free by 2035.
Restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas so that farming becomes a vector of biodiversity recovery.
Support farmers in the transition:
Reform agriculture by prioritising small scale, diverse and sustainable farming, supporting a rapid increase in agroecological and organic practice, and enabling independent farmer-based training and research into pesticide- and GMO-free farming.
The debut of the ECI is an important event for our future in Europe. You can contribute by signing the petition, sharing or donating. There is strength in numbers, and soon, EU citizens will be able to demand a better agriculture for the future of the environment, farmers and consumers. The work continues towards a future where safe ecological practices are the norm, and the overall health of our ecosystems is a priority investment and not a cost.
Sign the petition now! With your support, we can have a more just future for bees and farmers.
Find out more about the Save Bees and Farmers European Citizens Initiative at https://www.savebeesandfarmers.eu/
Bees and other pollinators in particular are indispensable for preserving our ecosystems and biodiversity. Up to one third of our food production and two thirds of our daily fruits and vegetables rely on pollination through bees and other insects. Yet, they are existentially threatened by constant pesticide-contamination and habitat loss due to industrial agriculture.
 The rapid decline of both small farms and wildlife is deeply rooted in our current model of agricultural food production that heavily relies on big scale monocultural farming and the use of synthetic pesticides. To make things worse, the EU actively funds this form of agriculture through its current agropolitical agenda and its system of subsidies that favours mass production over small scale and eco friendly farming. http://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/publications/nyeleni_eca_-_more_farmers_better_food_25.03.2019_0.pdf