, 23 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
I don't usually talk politics on here, let a lone local ones, but as many of you are (interested) in conservation, I'll make an exception. There's a ballot initiative in my native Bavaria proposing changes to the state environmental law to reverse biodiversity decline.
While it's about biodiversity in general, the actual campaign slogan is 'Save the Bees' #RettetdieBienen. And needless to say, a lot of the images they use are of, you guessed it, the domesticated honeybee.
Therefore I was a bit apprehensive about reading their ballot measure at first, but I was relieved to find that there is nothing in there about promoting or subsidising beekeeping.
The proposed changes include better riparian buffers, a ban on pesticides on grassland, regulations on light pollution, mandating 30% of farmland to be organic by 2030 and the creation of wildlife corridors covering 10% of the open countryside. #VolksbegehrenArtenvielfalt
Some make more sense to me as an effective conservation tool than others, but I'm really not qualified to comment. The initiative is backed by a broad coalition of political parties and NGOs.
Originally major NGOs did not support it, arguing change needs to be at the EU level, but they've since come around. It's more than they're ever going to get from the conservative government, which is about conserving many things but biodiversity is not at the top of their list.
They're halfway there, 500.000 signatures as of today.
I've been checking this webcam from Munich every so often and apparently despite it only taking a few minutes there's a long line of people all day every day since the very start. Pretty amazing! See this handy tweet on what to look for.
Bavarians vote to save bugs and birds—and change farming a.msn.com/01/en-ie/BBTtc…
With one more day left, they've already surpassed one million signatures.
The official results are in: 1,75M or 18,4% signed the initiative. They needed 10%. I figured the campaign was lowballing its estimates, but not by this much! It's also remarkable that it passed the 10% threshold in all of the 96 voting districts.
What's next? The Bavarian government already said that they'd vote down the legislation, which will automatically trigger a referendum later this year. People will then get the final say and choose between the ballot measure as-is and an alternative by the government.
Meanwhile people in several other German States want to follow suit and are exploring similar initiatives of their own. Will all of this influence Germany's position in #FutureOfCAP?
Today the Bavarian Government met with the campaign and various interest groups affected by or supporting the legislation. Over the next 2 weeks an independent mediator will talk with everyone involved and suss out if and how the law could be improved upon with everyone on board.
The visuals are nice of course. An important topic (mildly put) finally getting the attention it deserves. The position of the government is (I'm paraphrasing) 'we want to save the bees, but not at the expense of farmers'. That can mean a lot of things.
I'm still not too wild about their use of the honey bee as a mascot for biodiversity, but whatever works, I guess? I'm sure there'll be many papers on this campaign. ("Would you look at that!")
Much to everyone's surprise, the Bavarian Government announced today that they will accept #RettetdieBienen after all and turn it into law without changes, not going the route of a referendum between two competing bills. 1/3
At the same time they want to introduce additional legislation, supposedly informed by the recommendations of the independent mediator, that will go beyond the scope of the initial proposal, e.g. no Glyphosate on public property. 2/3
Potential caveat: This could be used to water down the law as well. And I've watched the press conference, a high ranking official was visibly upset, his statement dripping with disdain, insisting the law needs to be improved upon. 3/3
And while I'm at the subject, I may as well mention an interesting development since #RettetdieBienen. 1/4
In response to #RettetdieBienen some inventive farmers have started their own Kraut-funded agri-environmental scheme, so-called 'Blühpatenschaften': Instead of growing crops, they will sow bee-friendly flowers on their land if you pay them for it: usually 50€/100m². 2/4
Apparently hundreds of people have taken them up on their offer, generating interest from all over Germany. And it's now being coordinated by the Farmer's Union as well. See the map of their members taking part: bayerischerbauernverband.de/bluehpatenscha…. 3/4
Some ENGOs aren't too thrilled about this, calling these schemes majorly overpriced. Probably true, but if they find people that are willing to pay, I say more power to them! It's certainly better than taking up beekeeping or buying some fancy bee-hotel 'to save the bees'. 4/4
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