Lowe’s vs. the Bee Killer

The Dead Honeybee

The Dead Honeybee

Thumbs up to home improvement big box store Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW, $74.18) for its commitment to get rid of pesticides containing neonicotinoids, the ones that kill honeybees!

Thumbs at half-mast when we realize that this commitment is but a small part of their 2014 Annual Report, backed by a press release that says the phase-out will take 48 months, or a full four years!

This timetable (which I frankly can’t find in Robert A. Niblock’s CEO Message, silly me) also contains the dubious phraseology, “…as suitable alternatives (to neonicotinoids) become commercially available”.

As if this might be a clarion call to chemical manufacturers to clean up their act! In the United States, no less, ranked 33rd among developed nations for its abysmal environmental record with chemicals. Not to mention its status as one of the few developed nations to regulate pesticides, drugs and cosmetics so badly that the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act, 1976) allows manufacturers to market some products before they are even studied for their toxicity!

The opposition (surprising, or not?) comes from lib dems and environmental/health groups, which say that the proposed TSCA revisions will make things worse, not better. Like they could get worse?

An interesting side note to the U.S.’s updating the TSCA? It announced on March 17 (2015) that it will begin getting rid of the chemical weapons stockpile in Pueblo, Colorado. This dubious rectitude is sort of like any possible response to, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

So where does our imaginary thumb end up? Well, mostly up. At least Lowe’s has gone on record as opposed to neonicotinoids. It has also pledged to offer more “organic” substitutes and work with growers to eliminate the use of this dangerous pesticide (i.e., insecticide), notably from plants that attract bees. This is sort of like shutting down liquor stores and drug dealers near a treatment center; it works, but it has impacts.

Thumbs at a 45-degree angle (visualize a half-open door) for Lowe’s attempts to educate employees and customers on the dangers of this pesticide. Raise said thumb as far as 90 degrees – an open door – for its continued sponsorship of bee-friendly gardens through Keep America Beautiful. Woot!



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