Pollinator Crisis Threatens Food Supplies and Ecosystems:  Award-Winning Film Illuminates the Problem and Showcases Solutions

With bird, butterfly, and bee populations declining precipitously, a new award-winning Mountainkeeper short film tells the story of these amazing, important creatures & encourages New York State to protect pollinators

Livingston Manor, NY – One out of every three bites of food we eat exists thanks to bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators. These creatures are a critical part of our ecosystem, yet all of these populations are in decline. Without urgent action, our entire food web is at risk. In this time of global pandemic--when people worldwide are focused on tackling the immediate public health crisis and building strong, resilient communities over the long term--the need to  maintain food security and ensure pollinator health is even more important. Pollinators are key to our entire food supply and natural ecosystem. 

That’s the message of an award-winning eight minute short film--Save The Pollinators--released today by Catskill Mountainkeeper. The film features experts from throughout the Catskill region telling the story of why pollinators are so important to our ecosystem and food web, why their populations are declining, and what individuals and New York State can do to help.

“Bees are a bellwether bug,” said Dana DiPrima, beekeeper, founder of Catskill Mountain Honey, and one of the experts featured in the film. “When there’s a problem, they’re the first to know--and right now they’re showing us we have a big problem. Neonicotinoids are decimating bee populations, and unless we stop using these pesticides, we’re going to destroy the food web humans rely upon.”

“There is strong evidence that neonicotinoids and fipronil have adverse impacts on pollinators like honeybees and birds, and may also have human health impacts . This legislation prohibits the use of these pesticides while a thorough assessment is conducted. Far too often human health and the environment are secondary to short-term goals. Pest prevention that results in harm to our communities and pollinators is counterproductive, dis-economic, and simply unacceptable; this must stop,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright.

Neonicotinoids (or neonics) are a class of pesticide used in modern agriculture that have been proven to harm and kill bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Canada and the European Union are implementing a ban on the top three neonics, and it’s imperative that New York State follow suit. A bill before the New York State Senate and Assembly puts a moratorium on neonics and directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to study their impacts. To slow the decline in pollinator populations, Mountainkeeper and other advocates are calling on the legislature to pass the bill as soon as possible.

“Neonics are the new DDT,” said Ramsay Adams, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Executive Director. “DDT was decimating eagle and bird populations in the 1970s, and we had to ban this poisonous chemical to save the species. We need to do the same for bees and pollinators--ban neonics now and we can help our pollinators recover.”

“Neonicotinoids are a neurotoxin which directly affects the navigational ability of bees and other creatures which causes them to lose their way home,” said Chris Harp, co-founder of HoneyBeeLives--a Hudson Valley-based organization practicing Natural/Organic Beekeeping with a Biodynamic influence.

Save The Pollinators has received numerous film festival awards--including the Gold Award for Best Social Issue Film in the Independent Shorts Awards--and has been Officially Selected for the Anaheim Film Festival, Shriver International Film Festival, Kansas City Film Festival, and the Irvine International Film Festival.  Catskill Mountainkeeper will be releasing Save The Pollinators, directed by Kate Hagerman and produced by Angel Gates, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and the organization invites all media outlets, organizations, and individuals to share the video with their networks. The film can be viewed online, or email Kate Hagerman at [email protected] to receive the film file.