We can’t afford to lose pollinators

Bees are still dying off, and the public conversation around colony collapse disorder (CCD) remains mired in misinformation. (“New study links common pesticide to destruction of bee colonies.”) There is no “smoking gun” behind CCD. The story is complicated and involves a combination of factors (pathogens, nutrition, pesticides) acting in concert to make bees sick.

In the last year, and especially in the last two weeks, neonicotinoid pesticides have rapidly risen to the top of that list as a critical catalyst.

The pesticide industry is predictably pushing back by attacking strong science in an effort to further delay action. Pollinators are a critical part of agriculture. We cannot afford to lose them because we could not gather the will to act in the face of irreducibly complex science.

Uncertainty is a fact of science — it is the condition of science. We as the lay public must remain clear on the distinction between certainty and knowing enough to act.

Danny Dwinell