German state to turn ‘save the bees’ petition into law

6 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

German state to turn ‘save the bees’ petition into law

MUNICH: Germany’s Bavaria state said Wednesday it will pass into law a popular “save the bees” petition that promises drastic changes in farming practices, reports AFP.

The landmark move comes amid increasingly alarming warnings from scientists that nearly half of all insect species are in rapid decline—a third of the crucial pollinators threatened with extinction.

A petition launched in February to seek better protection of plant and animal species had become the most successful in the southern German region’s history, garnering 1.75 million signatures.      

The proposal in the state best known for its Oktoberfest and lederhosen set a target for 20 percent of agricultural land to meet organic farming standards by 2025, before reaching 30 percent by 2030.

Ten percent of green spaces in Bavaria would have to be turned into flowering meadows, and rivers and streams better protected from pesticides and fertilisers.

Rather than putting the petition to a referendum, Bavaria’s state premier Markus Soeder announced it would simply be written into law, passing through parliament.

“We are taking the text of the referendum word for word,” said Soeder, leader of the conservative CSU party which governs the state in a coalition majority.

The farming industry, which had sometimes felt marginalised in the environmental debate, would have to be given support to carry out the transformation, he added.