Ever since the late 1990’s, bees have been disappearing at alarming rates, but you probably knew that. It’s all over the news! But did you know, bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food, and without them we won’t last long; Albert Einstein predicted that when the last bee disappears, the human race will only last another four years. This is a global problem, and we each need to be part of the solution.
So what can we do? When researching for this article, I found across the board, one of the best things we can do is plant a pollinator friendly garden. For those who have the time and space, that is a valuable and beautiful option. But most of us are busy, or live in the city; we don’t have the time or space to plant such a garden. If you’re part of this group, you can save the bees by making easy changes in everyday products from companies who will put in the legwork that you may not have time for.
Here is a list of all the products I’ve chosen, from hand cream to ice cream, that will help the companies who have their sights set on saving our pollinating friends.
In the grocery store:
If there’s a Whole Foods near you, make it your first stop for groceries. Since 2012, Whole Foods has donated “more than $547,000 to the Xerces society – a nonprofit that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.” Because of those donations, Whole Foods has helped create or improve 186,000 acres of pollinator habitat. Even if you don’t have a Whole Foods near you, buy organic. One of the major bee-killers is a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are “harmless” to humans and other mammals, but they’re toxic to bees. When you buy organic products, you support farms that support bees, which is the first step in slowing their decline. One of my favorite bee-supporting organic brands is Cascadian Farms. They have delicious granola, frozen fruit, and juice concentrates. They support bee health research, build bee habitats, fund bee friendly almond farming in California, and they make donations to the Xerces Society. Cascadian Farms is absolutely a top pick for affordable, bee friendly groceries.
When you need to satisfy a sweet tooth, head down the frozen aisle and pick up some Haagen Daz ice cream. Haagen Daz has acknowledged the role bees play in their business, and have vowed to help out. So far, they’ve donated more than $100,000 to the Xerces Society. They also choose their ingredients carefully, avoiding pesticide ridden produce in their ice cream. My personal favorite flavors are dulce de leche and strawberry.
If you’re not an ice cream person, consider treating yourself with Droga Chocolate’s Money on Honey box. They’re wildflower honey caramels coated in pure dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Truly delectable. These are on the pricey side at $17 for a 9 piece box, but a portion of the profits go to saving the bees; it’s worth the cost for the incredible taste and the knowledge that you’re putting your money in the right place.
When buying honey, always look for organic, raw honey. It is more expensive but it’s the best choice for our bees friends.
For a quick snack, look for Ona bars. They’re gluten, dairy, and soy free, sweetened with organic honey. Not only are they healthy and delicious, but Ona is partnered with the Pollinator Partnership– the largest non-profit organization devoted solely to protecting pollinators and their habitats. A case of bars with three of each flavor: chocolate, honey nut, peanut ginger, and mocha java is under 30$. That’s only $2.5 per bar- a great deal for a healthy, sustainable snack.
In the bathroom:
There are hundreds of bee friendly hair, face, and skin products on the market. I’ve listed my favorite companies and products that will change your morning routine for the better. The first is Burt’s Bees: affordable, reliable, quality items from a company dedicated to bees from the start. My favorite products are the shea butter hand repair cream and the rosewater toner. They’re natural, effective and sold almost everywhere. The second is the Savannah Bee Company. I carry their beeswax and propolis lip balm with me everywhere. It tastes great, makes my lips silky, and lasts much longer than any of my other lip balms. It also comes in eight other flavors including earl grey, wild blackberry, and sweet tea. Their hydrating shampoo and conditioner, gets 5-stars reviews across the board – worth a try at least. It’ll leave you with hair that smells like honey, vanilla, and lemon…nice!
Savannah Bee Company is committed to educating children about bees through their Bee Cause Project, which has put hives in 220 schools around the US and in four other countries. They’re striving to reconnect youth with the natural world while empowering them to take action for the bees through careers in STEM. My final choice for saving bees from the bathroom is Marin Bee. The creators of Marin Bee created the Planet Bee Foundation, which offers free or low-cost beekeeping workshops, as well as hands-on bee education for schools, community gardens, and nonprofits. Their company is doing great things, and so are their products; They carry five well-reviewed health/beauty products: detox masque, honey butter, honey polish, honey shave, and lip repair.
Buy clothes and help bees
Even if you’re set with groceries and bee balms, everyone could use more tee shirts! Here are some that will spruce up your closet while helping our fuzzy winged friends:
My personal favorites are from Beekeeper’s Naturals. Their comfy T-shirts cost $30. They’re plain white and you can choose between three bee promoting sayings on the front in black lettering:
10% of the profits from each shirt goes to bee research.
Created by the directors of Vanishing of the Bees, The Honey Colony offers a “Bee the Change” T-shirt. Proceeds go to the Center for Food Safety in Washington DC- a nonprofit working towards eliminating the use of pesticides in the hopes of a more sustainable food future. Each shirt costs $35.
Finally, Savannah Bee Company also sells T-shirts to benefit their Bee Cause Project, as mentioned above. They’re only $20 each, and are super comfortable.
A cost-free way to help the cause
If you don’t want spend your money on these products, there’s still a way you can help the bees. You can sign petitions from dedicated agencies to ban neonicotinoids and other pesticides which are wreaking havoc on the bee population. The top three petitions which I’ve signed myself are from Greenpeace (a world renowned environmental protection agency), Friends of the Earth (an environmental agency started by noted environmentalist David Brower), and Avaaz (a global activist network).