Today, activists from SumOfUs.org, joined by concerned citizens in cities around the country are rallying outside Lowe’s Stores in an effort to build awareness of the company’s lack of action to eliminate bee-killing pesticides — known as neonics — from it stores and supply chains.
Two protests in Brooklyn and Philadelphia will feature activists dressed as bees, distributing information on neonic pesticides and their impact on critical bee populations.
More than 750,000 people in the United States and around world have joined with SumOfUs.org to call on Lowe’s shareholder and executive leadership to stop selling the pesticides. In conjunction with the rallies, activists around the country plan to create a “swarm” on Twitter, pressuring Lowe’s to take action.
“From all over the world, tens of thousands of everyday Lowe’s customers and shareholders are urging Lowe’s to think about the impact that these dangerous bee-killing pesticides have on our food supply chain and the company’s brand,” said Nicole Carty, U.S. Senior campaigner at SumOfUs.org. “It’s long past time for Lowe’s to remove bee-killing pesticides from its shelves and supply chain.”
Neonicotinoids have been the focus of many recent studies, which have found repeatedly that even small amounts of the chemical have been found to have ‘sub-lethal’ and even deadly effects on wildlife. Earlier this year, the European Union issued a two year moratorium on the use of neonics. The latest study, conducted by Harvard University and released on May 9th, 2014, strengthens the link between neonicotinoid pesticides and the collapse of Honeybee colonies.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new pesticide labels that forbid the use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present. The labels feature a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. The policy affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The agency is working with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.
In July, a dozen U.S. home and garden retailers, including Home Depot and BJ's Wholesale Club, announced they are working to ban or limit use of neonicotinoid, or neonic, pesticides, suspected of contributing to dramatic declines in honeybee populations. The retailers now require suppliers to label any plants treated with the pesticides before they can be sold in their stores. Home Depot, the world's largest home-improvement retailer, began requiring its suppliers to label by the fourth quarter of this year, and is running tests in several states to see if the pesticides can be eliminated in plant production without adversely affecting plant health.