Two-thirds of everything grown in Europe requires pollination — but in Sweden, nearly one-third of native wild bee species are at risk of extinction due to climate change and biodiversity loss. (In the U.S., by comparison, beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies over one year — between April 2015 and April 2016.)
Stockholm officials want to do something about that, so they’re welcoming bees to the Diplomatstaden neighborhood, where many of the city’s embassies are located. According to The Local, a group of businesses and municipal stakeholders is planning a “bee park” in the Royal National City Park.
The paper cites London and Oslo, Norway, as model cities, due to the “networks of pollinator sites” that both have set up. Apparently cities are often “better habitat for bees as they lack the use of pesticides found in the countryside.” Officials hope that establishing a habitat in the park will be a first step, leading to broader, citywide policy.
“Bee-friendly zones are places where you can find bee forage and water for all different kinds of bees and pollinators from the spring through to the autumn,” Sharon Cairns, one of the leaders of the project, said. “It is an area where you assess your impact on pollinators and consciously think about how you manage your land in order to make it more suitable habitat for pollinators and bees in particular.”
As Al Jazeera America reported in 2015, urban beekeeping is on the rise in the U.S. as well, with New York, Denver, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles leading the way in crafting policy around backyard and rooftop hives.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.