Industry lawyers have just threatened SumOfUs with a lawsuit as we prepare to raise our voices against bee-killing pesticides at a massive gardening convention starting in Chicago tomorrow. Thousands of us chipped in to help beekeepers spread their urgent message at the conference — and we need to show Big Pesticide that we won’t be intimidated into silence as the bees die.
This is a clear attempt to squelch our growing opposition to these lethal pesticides. Already banned in Europe, the chemical industry is now scrambling to ensure it can keep flooding the US market with its dangerous products, even though we know these poisons are killing the bees.
Our plan could hardly be less threatening — if what you cared about was the bees, rather than massive profits from pesticides. We all donated to bring these friendly beekeepers to Chicago, so they could talk with garden store owners and let them know of the dangers of these pesticides. But that hasn’t stopped convention organizers from threatening to sue us if we proceed, barring our beekeepers from the convention, and even telling hotels not to rent the beekeepers rooms or let them screen a documentary film.
Let’s send them a message back. We have to show them that we won’t back down in the face of their blatant intimidation. If 5,000 of us chip in a small amount now, we can take out targeted ads in widely-read industry publications like Garden Center Magazine to make sure the garden center owners hear from the beekeepers, and help them keep up the pressure on the pesticide industry in the months ahead.
Thousands of us have already donated to make sure that industry propaganda from the conference’s sponsors doesn’t go unchallenged at the massive gathering of independent garden store owners, who together are the largest distributor of commercial pesticides in the world.
We can’t tell for certain, but all signs point to direct pesticide industry pressure behind these bullying tactics. Pesticide giants like Bayer and Bonide are sponsoring the conference, and Bayer has taken out a massive entry booth filled with information about their “bee care program” after it found out about our plan! When we first approached the organizer about placing our ads inside the convention center, everything was friendly — but not long after that, they stopped returning our calls and wouldn’t answer our questions.
Now, their legal threats and intimidation have made it clear that they intend to do everything they can to make sure that garden center owners don’t hear from the beekeepers that SumOfUs members helped speak out — and we can’t let this go unchallenged.
Following scientific evidence that the dangerous pesticides known as neonics are responsible for the bee die-offs, a huge grassroots campaign won a temporary ban in Europe. Now, the chemical industry is worried that other countries may follow Europe’s lead and ban these bee-killers for good.
This ridiculous threat from the company organizing the convention, funded by massive pesticide sponsorship, is our best sign yet that the industry is scared. They know we might win, and they’re lashing out to protect their profits. Now, it’s up to us to show them what intimidation gets them — an even more determined campaign to save the bees.
In just the last two months, 50,000 dead bees were discovered littering a parking lot in Oregon, and a shocking 37 million bees were reported dead across a single farm in Ontario. These die-offs aren’t flukes. This winter, the British Beekeepers Association recorded its worst loss in its history. In China, the situation has gotten so bad that farmers are forced to hand-pollinate their trees. In the biggest kill yet, a large commercial beekeeper in the United States watched in helpless horror as a mind-boggling 500 million of his bees died.
We are reaching the point where our global ecosystem is straining, and the threat to the bees is becoming a threat to all of us. As bees die off, up to a third of the food we consume is threatened, and food prices are already being affected around the world.
The global pesticide industry is doing anything it can to protect its profits — and as usual, the U.S. is ground zero. Pesticide corporations are following the playbook written by Big Tobacco regarding lung cancer and Big Oil on climate change — pouring millions into lobbying and fake science to stop decision-makers from taking action, and intimidating opposition into silence. Now they’ve turned these dirty tactics on us, and we need to respond.
Thank you for fighting for the bees,
Kaytee, Claiborne, Taren, and the rest of us
SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. You can follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.