Dame Helen Ghosh, of the environment food and rural affairs department, has admitted that the decline in bee populations ‘were not a priority’.
Although her department now claims that it is ploughing more money into looking at the crisis, we should question the competence of a supposedly scientific department that failed to recognise the importance of bees, both in the ‘environment’ and in ‘rural affairs’. After all the importance of bees is recognised throughout the scientific community. As the famous quote attributed to Einstein goes “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”
Unfortunately Einstein never actually said these words, but the message remains true. Bees (along with ants) are among the most important species on the planet. As The Daily Green said a couple of years ago…
If all 7,000-plus species of bees disappeared from the Earth, those ripples would grow into tsunamis ruffling entire ecosystems. In some ecosystems, bees are “keystone” species – a reference to an arch’s top stone, without which both sides collapse. As the plants that rely on bees died off, species that relied on those plants would suffer, leading to the decline or death of species that rely on them, and so on.