Published: Fri, 12 May 2023
Today, Sean Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, announces the launch of his “Bee Better” campaign, an initiative aimed at raising awareness about the declining population of pollinators and promoting actions to protect their habitats. The campaign highlights the critical role of pollinators, particularly bees, in maintaining healthy ecosystems and emphasizes the need for collective action to ensure their survival across the EU.
To coincide with World Bee Day, celebrated on the 20th of May each year, Kelly will visit several primary schools across the Ireland South Constituency. During these visits, he will distribute native wildflower seeds to the pupils, with the aim educating them on the importance of pollinators for Ireland.
“World Bee Day presents a perfect opportunity to launch the ‘Bee Better’ campaign,” says Kelly. “I am thrilled to celebrate this important day by spreading awareness and engaging with young minds. By working together, we can create a better future for our pollinators and ensure the preservation of Ireland’s natural beauty.”
Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and hoverflies, play a vital role in the pollination of essential crops, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and flowers. Kelly added that “unfortunately, bees face significant challenges due to the loss of their habitats and food sources. This alarming decline poses a severe threat to the biodiversity and Ireland’s unique landscape.”
“While thankfully the honeybee is not in too much trouble, one-third of our 98 wild bee species are threatened with extinction,” says Kelly. “Without bees, the colourful and distinct natural beauty of Ireland’s landscape may be lost. For crop producers, pollinators ensure reliable yields of high-quality produce that is so important to many people’s livelihoods. Pollinators also ensure consumers have a range of fruit and vegetables at an affordable price.”
Recognizing the importance of individual actions, the “Bee Better” campaign encourages everyone to contribute to the preservation of pollinators. Simple steps, such as planting native wildflowers, herbs, or legumes in yards, community spaces, unused ditches, and land, can make a significant positive impact. For instance, clovers and other legumes are rich in nectar and pollen, providing crucial food sources for bees and other insects.
“Ireland has just one species of Honeybee; 98 wild bee species and around 180 Hoverfly species,” explains Kelly. “Small actions can make a big difference, allowing biodiversity to coexist within a productive farming system. Flowering hedgerows are vital to the survival of pollinators, providing food, shelter, and transport corridors.”
As a former teacher, MEP Kelly recognizes the importance of education in shaping the future. He believes that instilling the significance of pollinators in today’s society is crucial for future generations’ commitment to preserving Ireland’s natural beauty.
“The “Bee Better” campaign aims to further engage schools in this mission by encouraging the establishment of the likes of pollinator-friendly school gardens. Such gardens could include flowers and plants that enable students to witness the benefits of pollination first-hand.”