“This is a way of raising awareness and helping people to understand that they can be part of a solution, not just look at a problem and wonder what to do, but actually do something.”
In 2014 David Wheeler and Molly Greacen, neighbors in the Melody-Catalpa neighborhood in North Boulder decided to engage other neighbors around the issue of bee health. They decided to form A Bee Safe Neighborhood, which, as outlined by The Living Systems Institute, is a neighborhood in which at least 75 contiguous households have pledged to not use neonicotinoids in their gardens and yards.
Melody-Catalpa became the first the first “bee-safe” locality in Colorado. Two years later More than 1500 households have taken the bee safe pledge which has three levels:
Level 1: Neonic-Free: A pledge to not use neonicotinoids or other poisons that show up in the pollen and nectar of flowering plants, and not to use or buy soils, seeds, or plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids or other poisons that show up in the pollen and nectar of flowering plants.
Level 2: Organic: A pledge to not use any poisonous chemicals or products outdoors.
Level 3: Bee-Friendly: A pledge to not use any poisonous chemicals outdoors AND to plant and raise plants that provide the pollen and nectar that bees and other pollinators need.
The majority of those who have taken the bee safe pledge are in the city of Boulder, some in the county and even a few state-wide. Molly Greacen, one of the co-founders of Bee Safe Boulder says the movement has spread beyond households, “last May the city (of Boulder) passed a resolution saying they would no longer use any neo-nicotinoids on city property or city open-space and recommended that all residents of Boulder also avoid using neo-nicotinoids.”
David Wheeler, the other co-founder of Bee Safe Boulder says that other communities in the County area “we were able to get the Lafayette City Council to unanimously pass a similar resolution on September 15th of last year.” Wheeler says Louisville and Longmont are also looking at taking a bee safe pledge. He says Milwaukee Oregon’s recent ban on neo-nicotinoids shows that there is a growing movement around the country on this issue “we are honored and proud to be part of a leadership role in that.”
Last week Bee Safe Boulder received the inaugural Earth Champion award at E Town Hall as part of Boulder’s Earth Week 2016 celebrations and on Friday April 22nd Bee Safe Boulder launched their global initiative Bee Safe Earth. David Wheeler says this is an opportunity for people around the world to take the bee safe pledge “not only do we collect the pledges for that but we celebrate those pledges by, every time someone pledges, a happy bee pops up on our on-line map, go down below the pledge form and pledge on the way, and then you can see a happy bee pop up on your property. Right now we are doing that in Boulder County. With Bee Safe Earth we’ve gotten support from computer coders who are working on developing code so that anywhere in the world, when you pledge to be a Bee Safe neighbor, a happy bee will pop up, where ever you are in the world. By this action, soon we’ll have a swarm of happy bees all over the globe, that’s our goal and this is a way of raising awareness and helping people to understand that they can be part of a solution, not just look at a problem and wonder what to do, but actually do something, take an action and have their action recognized on a global platform so that other people can see what they’re doing and get involved.”