According to a report by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), 75 percent of the world’s food crops — including apples, almonds, cacao, coffee, cotton, and mangoes — are in jeopardy as 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) and 16 percent of vertebrate pollinators (such as bats and birds) face extinction.
The report draws from around 3,000 scientific papers, as well as local knowledge and information from over 60 locations worldwide, so the conclusion seems strongly built.
The culprits include intensive use of pesticides, the destruction and alteration of pollinators’ habitats, the introduction of invasive species and pests, climate change, and the forgoing of more sustainable traditional practices such as maintaining diverse gardens and landscapes to support pollinators. The report highlighted indigenous methods as being especially useful in curtailing these issues.
Solutions included promoting “sustainable agriculture” and diverse habitats; practicing crop rotation and other methods that minimize degradation of the environment; curtailing the use of pesticides in favor of alternative forms of pest control; and improving the management of bee colonies and other commercial pollinators.
Here is hoping governments and companies heed these warnings and recommendations, although their continued obstinance in the face of similar reports does not leave me too encouraged.