CITTASLOW INTERNATIONAL BEE MANIFESTO
"CittaslowBee: concretely for bees, sentinels of biodiversity"
The bee (Apis mellifera) is the insect known to all of us for the production of honey. Many know its importance in favouring the pollination of plants.
Less known is its essential action for the protection of biodiversity, understood as coexistence in a given ecosystem of multiple species, both animal and plant, in which a balance is created through their reciprocal relationships.
The basic importance of maintaining biodiversity lies in the fact that the environment must constantly be able to adapt to climate changes and be able to limit the onset of diseases and parasites; to do this, the environment requires to be populated with genetically different plants. This diversity survives, to a large extent, thanks to the work of pollinating insects such as bees, which during the search for nectar from flowers transport pollen from one plant to another. In this way, a constant remixing of the plant genes is determined, which can become more resistant to diseases, infestations, parasites, drought.
Recent studies have shown how the bee, besides contributing to the pollination of 80% of flowering plants (both spontaneous and cultivated), plays a central role in those areas of the world where the environments have deteriorated with the possible danger of the occurrence of natural disasters such as floods, landslides, erosions and desertifications.
It was calculated that just in Europe the 84% of the 264 cultivated species need insect pollination and that over 4000 different plant species continue to thrive and reproduce precisely through the humble and precious action of bees.
Today this insect known to all is in danger: let's do something, concretely.
Mayors and the Cittaslow communities work every day exchanging good practices and projects to give a "future of good living" to all, in alliance with the next generations and with every organism on earth. This is why we have always been in the front row to defend the bees in the awareness that if we save the buzzing tireless worker we will save the world.
To reverse the trend of bees’ decline, we consider their defense of primary importance, given the irreplaceable role of bees, beekeeping (beekeeping remains today an economic activity focused on the production of honey and wax, which still has a significant importance in rural areas, ensuring the communities present the ability to control the territory and produce income) and other pollinating insects in the protection and maintenance of biodiversity, to ensure food security and adequate economic support of many people, in particular of those living in rural or marginalized areas.
Much of what we eat comes from the work of these small pollinating insects that live in a cooperative society. For example, vegetables in gardens and fields are developed thanks to bees, as well as most of fruits on trees. Without plant food we would not even have meat ...: just in Europe, over 4,000 vegetables! Obviously, faced with a general bee crisis, the damage would be immense and probably irreversible. Today, industrial and intensive agriculture, which uses chemical pesticides in large quantities, monocultures plants, adopts destructive agricultural practices, is indifferent to biodiversity. As if that weren't enough, climate changes are also adding stress and dangers to bees' lives.