In the first project of its kind in the world, Norwegians are giving back to the beseiged honey bee by creating a bee friendly route around Oslo. Nectar bearing flowers are being planted as feeding stops, and rooftops are being greened as safe havens to help make city life a little easier for bees.
Everyone from state bodies and private companies to individuals and school children are getting involved in the planting of marigolds and sunflowers around the city. Contributions will be mapped on a website which will identify the bees’ route across the city.
Bees are having a hard time in the world in general. Whilst Norway’s bee situation might not be as serious as in many other countries, approximately a third of the country’s wild bee species are still considered to be endangered. Bees are absolutely fundamental to agriculture, around 30-40% of food production is reliant upon pollination. Farmers in the Chinese province of Sichuan have already had to resort to pollinating plants by hand. Without bees the future of food could look very bleak indeed.
Agnes Lyche Melvaer, head of Bybi, the environmental group leading the pioneering Oslo project, is optimistic about the potential ‘butterfly effect’. If the project manages to address the global problem at a local level in Oslo, there should be the potential to replicate the project elsewhere around the world. If you will be visiting Expo Milano 2015 this year be sure to check out the UK pavilion where visitors experience the journey of the bee.