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Santa Barbara Votes to Become ‘Bee-Friendly’ City

The city of Santa Barbara is now an official “Bee City,” USA.

The Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously this week to officially become “bee-friendly.”

Now, the council will develop a program to create or expand pollinator-friendly habitat, create a least-toxic integrated pesticide management plan, and identify appropriate locations for pollinator-friendly plantings. Colony Collapse Disorder has affected millions of bees around the world, and scientists believe the death of bees is related to the use of pesticides. 

“We’re friendly to bees already,” Councilwoman Cathy Murillo said. “We’ll take it up a notch and we’ll also set an example for the households in the city of Santa Barbara and our businesses to be very careful or eliminate pesticide use and plant vegetation and trees if they can that are pollinator friendly.”

The council passed a resolution that says: “We are committed to stewardship of the natural environment. We recognize the vital importance of sustainable environs for pollinators, especially honeybees. We appreciate healthy lifestyles for ourselves that includes locally grown foods.”

Sigrid Wright, CEO and executive director of the Community Environmental Council, noted that 40 percent of the county is comprised of agriculture land, with more than 700 acres of row crops, orchards and vineyards. Nearly 40,000 people work in the agriculture industry as do “millions and millions” of bees, Wright said.

“There are things we take for granted,” Wright said. “Bees are really the backbone of our food system.”

Councilman Gregg Hart pointed out that the honeybee population has declined so much in China that people are pollinating apple crops.

“It’s a terribly scary thing to imagine that humans are dependent upon other humans to pollinate crops that we depend on, rather than having natural systems at work,” Hart said.

“Clearly that is connected to the excessive use of pesticides and the challenges of climate change that is affecting our planet. All of these things are connected and it is great that we are taking steps to recognize Santa Barbara as a bee city.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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