Non-dairy milk alternatives have been a staple item for many people, and while a wide variety is available for purchase, almond milk seems to be a continuous favorite. It’s inexpensive, has a mild flavor and can be used for numerous purposes. Sadly, recent studies have indicated that almond milk has a negative effect on bees and it’s a bigger issue than people realize.
A big reason why the food industry is able to keep functioning is thanks to the bees.They have always played a massive role in our lives and the environment. A few years ago, the phrase “Save the bees” went viral after news broke out that “an alarming 40 percent of honeybee colonies collapsed from spring 2017 to 2018” according to NRDC. With various issues like climate change and natural disasters that feels like it’s impossible for humans to handle alone, something as simple as not buying almond milk can provide a large beneficial impact on bees and beekeepers. Being educated on why exactly almond milk is hurting the bees and switching to sustainable non-dairy milk alternatives is the best way to create a change in this matter.
Bees are most commonly associated with honey but they are actually crucial for producing almond milk as they are the ones that pollinate the almond trees. During the 2018-2019 winter, beekeepers were experiencing a massive decline in the bee population with over a third of commercial bee colonies dying off. According to a recent article by Guardian, honeybees are in danger because of the pesticide that is used on the trees and because they are forced to work all year round due to the high demand of almond milk. The commonly used pesticide among almond farmers is called neonicotinoids. As reported by Newsweek, it causes many negative effects on bees such as decrease in flight endurance and making them act in a hyperactive state, leading them to become tired quickly. Author Daniel Kenna describes neonicotinoids as “similar to nicotine in the way they stimulate neurons” but the United States is still using it to keep up with the high request for almond milk even though it poses risks for the bees. As of now, beekeepers understand the harm it causes on the bees but they are striving for a change. Inclusive of this, consumers can also work for change by making simple swaps in their grocery purchases.
So what can people do to help fix this issue?
The simple thing to do is cut back on almond milk or better yet, switch to something else. If almond milk is truly necessary in someone’s diet, buying one that is certified organic is better for the environment because it doesn’t require the use of pesticides and it uses less water. Many people also don’t comprehend that almond milk hurts the planet in other ways besides using pesticides through the amount of water needed to make the milk. As stated by Bustle, “it takes over 12 liters of water to produce a single almond kernel” which definitely doesn’t help the situation with climate change. Avid lovers of almond milk shouldn’t have to fear the loss of their favorite dairy alternative though. Options like oat, help, coconut and soy milk are available and they don’t have a very harmful effect on the environment compared to almond milk. The image below shows which non-dairy milk options are the most sustainable for the planet.
Almond milk hurts the environment more than people know and it’s production of it is killing bees very quickly. As someone who has always consumed almond milk, I’m switching to oat milk and hoping for this problem to be resolved soon. 50 billion bees and counting have died so far because of people’s obsession with almond milk. Spreading the news of this problem to others and not consuming almond milk will make the jobs of beekeepers easier, lower the amount of neonicotinoids used, and help keep more bees alive.