The Urban Bee, Ambassador for the Environment
Populations of bees, bumble bees, butterflies and other pollinators are declining around the world. This accelerating disappearance is mainly attributable to industrial agriculture (monocultures, massive use of pesticides and habitat loss) and climate change.
In fact, bees are responsible for the pollination of more than 130 varieties of fruits and vegetables that entirely depend on pollinators to be productive. Almonds, cranberries, apples, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, avocados: these are a few examples of crops that entirely depend on pollinators.
A Third of the Food We Eat
Humans need bees (amongst other pollinating insects and animals) to pollinate crops. The shrinking of pollinator populations is extremely worrisome, particularly concerning agriculture. Did you know that the UN even created World Bee Day (may 20) to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and the threats they face?
Implementing an urban beekeeping initiative is a good way to show involvement in the cause, fostering a conversation about the broader dangers facing our delicate ecosystem and mobilizing spokespeople for bees and pollinators.
Bees in Cities
Bees can travel a distance of up to 3 km around their hive to forage for nectar and pollen. This means that by installing beehives in your building or unit, you’ll be helping your neighbourhood blossom, as these insects contribute to the overall pollination and biodiversity of flora around the hive. Because they have access to the greater floral diversity of the city, urban bees are actually healthier and have a stronger immune system, thanks to their varied diet and minimal exposure to pesticides.
Cities are ideal for urban beekeeping, a practice focused on education rather than honey production. Urban beekeeping encourages a reconnection with nature – including seasons, weather and flowering rhythms – and is an unparalleled educational tool on the urban environment.
Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations 2030’s agenda for Sustainable Development has countries seeking new inventive solutions to reach 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. One of these goals is Life on Land (Goal 15) and includes halting biodiversity loss. These 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also serve as reference points for organizations to establish and monitor ESG strategies. Urban beekeeping has proven to be a low-cost and valuable asset to any sustainability program. Whether by pollinating rooftop gardens or through educational workshops, urban bees have become ambassadors for the environment.
ESG performance is a complex issue for the real estate industry and many have yet to find a way to tell their story. Urban beekeeping helps to create sustainable advantages and help green building projects achieve exceptional or innovative performance. More and more property owners and managers in the Commercial Real Estate community are repurposing their unused rooftop spaces to provide a sanctuary to the urban bee.
Ambassadors for the Environment
By highlighting the incredible world of the honey bee, we hope that citizens will grow attached to it, ultimately using that attachment as a gateway to ensure commitment to all bees and pollinators, and a transformed view of the environment.
At the end of each season, extra honey produced by the urban bees represents a sweet gift amongst networks of partners, clients and employees. A great way to give visibility to this biodiversity initiative and spread awareness.
Increasingly, buildings of all stripes are choosing to launch green initiatives through urban agriculture and green roofing as they are easy-to-implement and sustainable solutions towards minimizing the negative impacts of urbanization. It increases biodiversity in the neighbourhood while fostering a sense of community and belonging amongst teams and tenants.
There’s a reason we’re doing this: by adopting honeybees, we are helping change people’s perspective of the urban environment and reconnecting our community with the subtle wonders of nature.
Case Study: Transforming Neighbourhoods
Explore our case study with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and discover how they transformed a Toronto neighbourhood, one green initiative – and buzzing beehive – at the time.