For several decades Honey Nut Cheerios boxes have celebrated the work of the world's greatest pollinators with its Buzz the Bee mascot. In a move designed to make a buzz-worthy environmental statement, this month General Mills removed the honey-making creature from its boxes, leaving a white, empty space in his place with a plea to the world.
"Help Bring Back the Bees" is the company's ecologically responsible campaign to increase awareness to the scary fact that pollinators, such as bees, are in drastic decline. "Buzz is missing because there's something serious going on with the world's bees. Bee populations everywhere have been declining at an alarming rate, and that includes honeybees like Buzz," explains the brand on its website.
According to Greenpeace, bees are partially responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat, and honeybees (both wild and domestic) are responsible for 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. Also, 70 percent of the top human food crops are pollinated by bees — which accounts for nearly 90 percent of the world's nutrition.
Over the past few decades the honeybee population has drastically dwindled. According to U.S. National Agricultural Statistics, honeybees have declined from 6 million hives in 1947 down to 2.59 million in 2016 — equating to a 60 percent loss. In fact, in January a North American bumblebee was officially declared an endangered species in the United States.
"Bees are dying from a variety of factors — pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, global warming," explains Greenpeace, noting that many are interrelated. Humans are to blame for two of the biggest causes of bee depletion — pesticides and habitat loss — both of which can be improved with a little action.
To do its part, General Mills has distributed more than 1.5 billion wildflower seeds so that individuals can plant gardens for bees and other pollinators to thrive on, encouraging them to share photos on social media. The company has also pledged to transform 3,300 acres of its own oat crops into flower fields by the year 2020.
While the company is all out of seeds, you can do your part to #BringBacktheBees by heading to your local garden store and planting a wildflower garden of your own this spring.
What Do YOU Think?
Is General Mills making a bold statement by removing Buzz the Bee? Are you concerned about the decline in pollinators over the past few decades? Do you maintain a garden to encourage honeybees?