‘Save the Bees’ – an ideal Instagram caption for wildflowers you’ve spotted by the side of the road. The phrase has taken on meme-like status over the last few years, both in the idealistic aesthetic sense and in more absurdist millennial humour.
Surely everyone has had the joy of this GIF in their lives
NY Mag wrote a pretty funny article about the “remember bees are dying globally at an alarming rate” meme
When you’re having fun but then remember that bees are dying globally at an alarming rate pic.twitter.com/iPXdDc4NPb
— Festive-ass bread Terry (@SlimiHendrix) December 27, 2015
But does the meme-ifying of ‘Save the Bees’ add accessibility and scope to the campaign to protect pollinators or does it make it more difficult to take seriously.
But what are we even talking about when we’re talking about saving bees? Mostly we’re talking about preserving or creating habitat and food supply for a range of pollinators but we are also talking about greatly reducing pesticide use.
I asked Twitter what people thought of when they heard “save the bees” and the replies gave me this word map.
The responses came from mostly Ireland, England and the US but also Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. Some spoke in general terms, some in scientific, and some in personal terms, their grandfather’s hives or a childhood memory.
You can see there’s a focus on food security and pollination. People do get why we need bees/pollinators. There’s a strong understanding of the need for flowers as pollinator food and some mention of pesticides but less focus on habitat for nesting. There’s also some confusion about whether we are talking about honeybees or bumblebees but no mention of solitary bees at all.
Which leaves a lot of room for people to learn more about pollination and what conservationist are trying to do to protect them.
But the will is there. There interest is there. All we need to somewhere to focus that attention. Where go the memes, shall the people follow?
If January this year was dominated for me by being #SickofPlastic then let February be about #PeopleForBees. By this time next month I want to have covered a whole range of things people can do and learn to protect their local pollinator pals and have built up to the fundraiser for bee workshops by the Irish Wildlife Trust that I will be running at the same time (more on that this Thursday).
Save the bees.