Cheerios gave away 1.5 billion wildflower seeds, with their “Bring Back the Bees” Campaign, to people in the United States to help save bees. They’ve also removed their mascot Buzz from their cereal boxes to raise awareness. The bee population is declining dangerously but are Cheerios efforts genuine or helpful?
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all pack of seeds for our country. Every region has it’s own complex plant life. These free seed packs being given away by Cheerios include invasive species to certain areas. The Forget-Me-Not is banned in Massachusetts and Connecticut because it’s a noxious weed. The California Poppy is invasive in southeastern states, but is perfect for California. Most importantly though, many of the wildflowers are not native to the areas they are being shipped to so they don’t help the local bees. This post from LifeHacker outlines the included seeds and how they are causing more harm than good.
If General Mills was truly concerned about the bees then they would stop sourcing GMO ingredients that use a wide range of toxic pesticides, insecticides and fungicides. Those are to blame for the widespread death of bees and colony colapse. They would also source their honey from sustainable bee-keepers who know how to keep a colony healthy. The commercial beekeeping industry, as with most commercial industries, causes more harm than good because they are doing everything on a large scale.
The efforts brought forth by Cheerios seems to be more “cause-washing” than anything as it only benefits General Mills. They are benefiting greatly from the positive PR as the bees continue to suffer, so keep that in mind when you make your next cereal purchase. Buying from General Mills is supporting this toxic industry. Vote with your dollars!
FYI: General Mills also owns Cascadian Farms.