Get on down for da’ bees!

Photo by Barbara Storey

Getting down for bees with jazz music, wine and food has everything to do with being a bee protector! We are celebrating bees with a fantastically fun event (read more about BEE JAZZY), but we aren’t joking about the real peril for pollinators. Bees are not safe in Oregon, or anywhere else in America. Eight species of native bees have very recently been put on the US Endangered Species List and are at the mercy of the Trump Administration. Trump appointees are teaming up with industrial lobbyists to take away modest protections for endangered native bees by dismantling the Endangered Species Act, a bedrock law safeguarding our nation’s special and wild creatures.

Honey bees are suffering as well. A recent national study of bee survival rates confirms that Oregon beekeepers completely lost more than 32 percent of their bee hives from June to December, 2016. This is on par with the national average of 33 percent.

That means one-third of bees in Oregon and nationwide didn’t survive last year. This startling fact is a dire wake-up call. Our ability to have fresh, healthy food is in jeopardy. Food insecurity is connected to environmental justice issues; we know that the wealthiest in our nation will always have enough money to buy imported fruits and vegetables. This is not the case for so many others in America, especially the people who work so hard to bring in the harvest. That is why Beyond Toxics fights to protect bees and workers as well, focusing on the threat of food insecurity.

Bees are also severely impacted by climate change. Rising temperatures and strange weather patterns have altered our fragile ecosystem: blossoming fruit trees and the emergence of bees are out of whack. In many urban gardens there is a shocking bareness of apple, pear and plum trees. Won’t you help us accomplish our shared goals? Get involved now! Bee Jazzy is a perfect way to support our work to protect pollinators (without having to go with us to the State Legislature or attend a lot of meetings on pesticides, climate change and water quality!). Right now, it is state and local level action that really counts!

By supporting us during a summer evening of fun, food and music, you are doing your part to make Beyond Toxics stronger. Here is what the price of your Bee Jazzy ticket supports:

1. NEVER GIVING UP: Beyond Toxics is a force to be reckoned with at the Oregon State Legislature. We took on chemical company and industrial agriculture lobbyists to champion the 2017 Oregon Pollinator Protection Act. Sure, powerful corporate interests targeted our bill for demise, but WITH YOUR SUPPORT, WE’RE NOT GIVING UP on bees. We’re tackling the root causes of bee die-offs.

2. LOCAL ACTION: We’re helping more cities pass resolutions to protect bees and ban bee-killing neonicotinoids. Did you know that Beyond Toxics was the first in the nation to start the Bee Friendly City movement? We’re partnering with more Oregon cities to do everything they can to protect pollinators!

3. EDUCATION & SCIENCE: Beyond Toxics invites you to participate in Citizen Science project, including our annual native bee count, Wildlife Science Pubs and water protection projects.

4. YOUR VOICE IN CONGRESS: Beyond Toxics is your representative at the highest national level of Bee Protection Coalitions, taking action in Washington to advocate for bees in the United States Congress, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Agriculture and more. We are working diligently to ban bee-killing pesticides, protect our food systems, and stand-up for farm workers who are harmed by these highly toxic chemicals.

And did you know that every glass of wine purchased and every silent auction bid supports our Save Oregon’s Bees Campaign? Has there ever been a better reason to support bees and Beyond Toxics?

I can’t wait to see you at Bee Jazzy to celebrate this profound and effective work to save bees and food production! Come on out to have fun and make an impact in the work for a healthy future!

Lisa Arkin,
Executive Director