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Environment

Why David Attenborough Wants Everyone to Leave a Spoonful of Sugar in Their Garden

If we’ve learned anything from Blue Planet II — other than the fact that plastic waste is a disaster — it’s that when Sir David Attenborough speaks, the world listens. 

After his documentary exploring the current state of the world’s seas and oceans aired late last year , it sparked an actual flood of action against plastic pollution. 

Since then, we’ve seen action banning plastic and driving innovation in finding sustainable alternatives left, right, and centre . And, dare we say it, it might actually be making a difference. 

Now, Sir David is lending the support of his considerable influence to another environmental travesty — the fate of the bee

Take action: Be the Change, Pledge to Say No to Single-Use Plastics

According to a Facebook post from Attenborough, if bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humans would have just four years to live. 

Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. Four years.

But Sir David recommended in his post a very simple thing that we can all do to help save the bees and, apparently, ourselves. 

BeeImage: Flickr/Yamanaka Tamaki

Read more: 10 Moments When David Attenborough Made Us Swoon

“This time of year bees can often look like they are dying or dead, however, they’re far from it,” he wrote . “Bees can become tired and they simply don’t have enough energy to return to the hive which can often result in being swept away.” 

“If you find a tired bee in your home, a simple solution of sugar and water will help revive an exhausted bee,” he continued. “Simply mix two tablespoons of white, granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water, and place on a spoon for the bee to reach.” 

Bees play a vital role in global agriculture and food production, and along with other insects pollinate three-quarters of all crops. But the bees that we depend on for our own survival are already dying out. 

Read more: 16 Times Countries and Cities Have Banned Single-Use Plastic

According to the UN , the populations of 37% of bee species are declining. In the UK alone, around 13 species have already died out since 1900, and a further 35 are at risk. 

Meanwhile in Germany, 75% of all flying insects have vanished. In the US, around 50% of species are declining and nearly 25% are facing extinction.

In the face of all that, leaving a spoon of sugar out on your windowsill or in your garden doesn’t seem like a huge ask from Sir David.

Read more: Bees Face 'Spiral of Decline' Becaue of Toxic Pesticide

The decline in bee populations is due to a number of factors, including climate change, deforestation, and loss of wildflowers, with 97% of flower-rich meadows having been lost since the 1930s, and the use of a strain of insecticides — called neonicotinoids — in agriculture. There’s some good news, however, as the European Union backed a near-total ban on neonicotinoids in April. 

Sir David’s Facebook post has already been shared over 450,000 times, so hopefully that’s a lot of people who’ll now be taking action to support the bees.

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on curbing climate change, improving life on land and life below water, and creating communities and cities that are sustainable. You can join us by taking action on these issues here