Among the political, social and economic challenges the European Union must face there is one that looms over the horizon with unprecedented consequences. For decades climate change has been a constant threat worldwide, encouraging experts and citizens alike in finding new ways to face this environmental challenge.
The European Citizens’ Initiative
The ECI or European Citizens’ Initiative is an instrument introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon that gives EU citizens the possibility to participate directly in the decision-making process of the Union. A method that consists of allowing members of the civil society to invite the European Commission to present a legislative proposal if certain conditions are met, such as reaching one million firms within twelve months, with a minimal number of firms required for each member state, including other requisites.
Save Bees and Farmers
More than 140 environmental NGOs, farmer and beekeeper organizations, charitable foundations and scientific institutions distributed throughout the European Union have decided to use this mechanism to reconcile agriculture, health, and biodiversity. Working together to create the ‘’Save Bees and Farmers’’ initiative, aiming to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides gradually by 80% in 2030, and by 2035 achieving the goal of eliminating the use of toxic pesticides in the entire Union, an objective accompanied with measures to recover biodiversity in natural habitats and agricultural areas, together with programs to support farmers in the transition towards an agroecology.
According to the alliance of organizations that compose this ECI phasing-out synthetic pesticides is the basic prerequisite and strongest lever to transition from the current and unsustainable agricultural model, improving it so that it can face better the difficulties climate change represents, arguing that such transition ‘’is the only possible response to the growing challenges posed by the biodiversity and climate crises, and is therefore also best suited to securing the world’s food supply for future generations’’.
How to support “Save the Bees and Farmers”
Currently this initiative is more than halfway through the million signings required to be presented to the European Commission, with a little over 610.000 signs so far. The campaign started in September of 2019 but as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the deadline for the collection of signs was extended until September of 2021.
To support an ECI you must be an EU citizen and be old enough to vote in European Parliament elections. If you are interested in supporting the Save Bees and Farmers ECI you can sign the petition or donate at https://www.savebeesandfarmers.eu/eng/. You can also check the European Union official website dedicated to the European Citizens’ Initiative to support other ECI’s of your preference at https://europa.eu/citizens-initiative/_en.