A one-hour documentary titled ‘Plean Bee’ is set to be aired by TG4 next week on World Bee Day, May 20.
The programme will focus on the All Ireland Pollinator Plan and how it is mobilising individuals and communities to reverse pollinator decline across all of Ireland.
According to the show-runners, bees and pollinators have been declining in Ireland and other countries for decades as a result of mono-culture, pollution, climate change and disease.
This decline comes at a huge cost to agriculture, wildflowers and trees, and to many parts of the natural world that we take for granted.
The All Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP), first set up in 2015, seeks to reverse pollinator decline by engaging with Irish society, mobilising a “citizen’s army” of gardeners, farmers, community and sports groups, councils and other land owners to become pollinator friendly, protecting the environment and protecting the lives of future generations, the programme producers say.
TG4 will broadcast Plean Bee on Thursday, May 20, at 9:30p.m in support of pollinators.
In the documentary, Dr. Úna Fitzpatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Prof. Jane Stout from Trinity College Dublin, and Dr. Pól Mac Cana from Belfast will outline the variety of pollinators – honeybees, bumblebees as well as Ireland’s 77 species of solitary bee.
These solitary bees are “individual bees of surprising sizes and colours who are the country’s main pollinators”.
While bees are responsible for most pollination, there are also wasps, moths and butterflies and hoverflies to take into account, the producers say.
According to Plean Bee, pollinators face the same problem of decline in habitats and food sources:
“Gardens, parks, hedgerows and farmland that are over maintained, or are treated with pesticides, are destroying natural habitats for pollinators who require shelter, and different food sources throughout the year.
“The delicate balance of nature – the pollination of fruits and crops, trees and wildflowers in exchange for food and shelter – is breaking down, and pollinators are struggling to survive.
The aim of the AIPP, launched by Úna and Jane in 2015, was to encourage as much of Irish society as possible to take action to protect or develop habitats and food sources.
The AIPP published action plans for every type of citizen activist, and in Plean Bee we witness how Derry City and Strabane Council have reduced the mowing of grass over the summer, to allow wildflowers to grow to support pollinators.
The show also features a community glasshouse in Donegal, a school in Dublin that has implemented pollinator-friendly policies and a Mullingar farm where traditional hedge-laying helps promote biodiversity.
“In each case we witness the crucial steps we can all take to help protect our environment,” the producers say.
Concluding on the AIPP, Úna Fitzpatrick said: “The beauty about it is that we’re not asking ‘anybody’ to solve this problem – we’re asking ‘everybody’ to get involved, and if everybody took small actions, then together we would solve it.”