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Congressional Candidate David Trone (D)

On the Ecology

Maryland is home to an array of natural beauty and rich agricultural history. Many farmers in the Eighth District rely on the environment to make a living, and they need a lot to produce a successful crop year after year. As people in this area know, it takes a lot to produce a good harvest. Over 400 bee species call Maryland home, including the European honeybee. In recent years, however, pollinators have disappeared at an alarming rate. According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s beekeepers have lost 61% of their colonies, one of the highest rates in the country.

The decline of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, is harmful to our agricultural economy and natural environment. It also hurts the overall health of our local ecology. We need these pollinators for the food we eat everyday. Up to one third of the food we eat exists because of bees, and seventy percent of the world’s fruits rely on pollination.

There are two things we can do to stop the loss of pollinators. First, we need to reduce the amount of pesticides used in agriculture that are harmful to pollinators. The Pollinator Protection Act is a good first step. Second, we need to diversify monoculture farming practices. The USDA has pledged to add forty new crops to insurance plans this year.

We also need to boost programs that already help pollinators. Maryland’s Wildflower Program has planted flowers along medians and intersections since 1986. Other states have similar programs to help bees. North Carolina’s Department of Transportation sets out habitats designated for pollinators every spring. This plant life provides habitats for bees during the busy pollinating months. These programs add a lot of beauty to our environment, and they help pollinators thrive in our ecosystem.

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