Bees and other pollinators are integral to our survival, playing a pivotal role in global ecosystems by sustaining our food supply, enhancing biodiversity, and providing essential ecosystem services. The decline of pollinators, including over 20,000 bee species, butterflies, birds, bats, and insects, poses a significant threat, primarily driven by human-induced factors. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 75% of global crops rely on pollinating insects, contributing a staggering USD$577 billion annually to the world economy.

Impacts and effets

Impact on Food Supply: Pollination agents, through the crucial process of pollination, facilitate fertilization and seed production. The absence of these beneficial insects could make crop cultivation challenging and costly, jeopardizing global food supplies and prices. The graph illustrates the direct influence of pollinators on the cultivation and supply of fruits, cocoa, coffee beans, soybeans, and nuts – essential components of plant-based diets. Without pollination, yields would significantly decrease, intensifying food security concerns.

Biodiversity Preservation: Preserving pollinators is not only vital for food production but also for maintaining the beauty of blossoming moments. Pollinators play a key role in the reproduction of wildflowers, including foxglove, clover, and bluebells, preventing a decline in flowers and animal species dependent on them for survival.

Impact of Climate Change on Pollinators: Climate change emerges as a significant threat to pollinators, exacerbating the decline observed in butterfly and bee populations since 1991. Rising temperatures and extreme weather events alter the availability of food sources and habitats, critical for the survival of pollination agents. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C highlights the direct contribution of climate change to habitat loss, with more severe consequences anticipated if global temperature rise exceeds 1.5°C.

Effects of Climate Change on Pollination: Climate change disrupts the timing and availability of flowering plants, leading to mismatches with pollinators. Studies reveal that rising temperatures decrease the sugar content of nectar, the main food source for pollination agents, resulting in diminished nutrition. This negatively impacts the health and reproductive success of pollinators, leading to a decline in plant pollination.

Mitigation Strategies:
  1. Emission Reductions: Curtailing global emissions is imperative to mitigate the impact of climate change on pollination agents. Advocacy for transparent and concrete roadmaps to achieve net-zero emissions is essential at both country and business levels.
  2. Pesticide Reduction: The reduction or elimination of pesticide usage, particularly neonicotinoids, is crucial. These chemicals have detrimental effects on pollinators, influencing the overall pollination process.
  3. Individual Contributions: Individuals can contribute by attracting bees to local green spaces or gardens. Planting a variety of flowers that bloom at different times, as recommended by guides such as Wildlife Trust, ensures a sustained nectar season, aiding the survival and flourishing of pollinators.

In conclusion, recognizing the intricate connection between climate change, pollinators, and global food security is paramount. Addressing these challenges requires collective efforts, emphasizing emission reductions, responsible pesticide use, and individual contributions to create a sustainable environment for pollinators and, consequently, human survival.