Save the bees: Protect funding for the Endangered Species Act
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Bees, mother nature’s most delicate and powerful creatures, are experiencing a rapid population decline which puts them near extinction. Because they play a vital role in our crop pollination the bee decline is negatively impacting our economy and health. Currently, bees are responsible for pollinating a majority of our nutrient rich foods, hence, their complete demise would bring a radical change to our food pyramid leading to vitamin deficiencies. The Think Progress article, “Bee Decline Could Cause Malnutrition In Developing Countries”, reports on how human health will decline because of the dwindling number of bees. The study found that vitamin A deficiency will increase because bees are declining. This increase in vitamin A deficiency is important because “vitamin A deficiency causes 800,000 women and children to die every year, and has been found to roughly double the risk of death from measles, diarrhea, and malaria”(Valentine 2015). Vitamin A deficiency is correlated with the decline of bees because bees can not pollinate the fruits and vegetables that give people Vitamin A. This deficiency can then lead to death or increase the severity of certain diseases. In order to keep ourselves healthy, we must keep the bees healthy and pollinating.
Bees contribute to the U.S. economy through pollination, as a result, their decline leads to significant and harmful agricultural losses. In 2014, under the Obama Administration, the White House released, “The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations”, a fact sheet that illustrated the negative impact the decline of bees would have on our economy. The article states,“Beekeepers in the United States have collectively lost an estimated 10 million beehives at an approximate current value of $200 each”(White House 2014). Recently, U.S. beekeepers lost 10 million beehives and because of this, they lost approximately 2 billion dollars. This loss of beehives and revenue is correlated with unemployment, subsequently, the workers of the agriculture industry could need assistance from federal welfare programs which forces Congress to allocate more resources to these programs. The economic losses from bee declines can not be recovered but they can be prevented in the future.
In order to keep ourselves and our economy healthy, we must help protect the health of bees. Many species of bees that are currently endangered can be federally protected if they were listed under the Endangered Species Act. For the Endangered Species Act to function properly, it’s current funding must not be cut. The Trump Administration’s new budget “proposes to cut overall funding for the Department of the Interior by 12 percent, roughly $1.5 billion, from 2017 funding levels”(Greenwald 2017). The Department of Interior gives funding to the Endangered Species Act and if the Department of Interior loses $1.5 billion worth of funding certain aspects of the act will not function properly. A prominent piece of the Endangered Species Act that will take a serious hit would be the listing program. The listing program will not have the financial resources needed to appropriately list a species as endangered leading to no new species listed as endangered. This $1.5 billion cut could potentially mean that species of bees that are endangered will never be officially listed and receive the benefits of the act. The budget cut would also affect the amount of money given to the recovery of endangered species listed. This would then lead to some species not recovering and becoming extinct. To prevent these extinctions of possible and currently listed species, the budget given to the Department of Interior must be protected.
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