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'Buzz' disappears in response to declining bee population

Digital writers

Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 11:57 AM - Where's Buzz? The beloved Honey Nut Cheerios bee has (temporarily) disappeared from cereal boxes in an effort to draw attention to the rapid decline of bees and other pollinators worldwide.

"Buzz is missing because there’s something serious going on with the world’s bees," said the cereal brand on a website dedicated to #BringBackTheBees. "With deteriorating bee colony health, bees everywhere have been disappearing by the millions and it’s time we all did something about it."

For the first time since the character's origin in the late 90s, the brand has taken their mascot Buzz off of boxes in Canada. According to General Mills Canada, the silhouette left on the box is intended for those purchasing and eating the cereal to contact the company for more information.

The video below, created by ad agency Cossette, was also released by the company to show how pollinator depletion can impact entire ecosystems.

"General Mills' decision to draw attention to the issue of declining bee populations marks the continuation of its commitment to purpose-based marketing," said Cossette's chief creative officer, Peter Ignazi in a statement. "By taking the bold step of removing a well-established brand symbol from its packaging, General Mills is further challenging marketing's conventional thinking to underscore its point."

UN Reports warns over dangers of pollinator loss

The UN's Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) issued a new report warning about the catastrophic implications of the death of pollinators world-wide.

The report, issued February 26, 2016, cites the importance of the world's more than 20,000 species of wild bees in food production - 75% and up to $577 billion USD worth of crops annually depend, at least in part, on animal pollination.

It is dire news, then, that the report estimates 16 per cent of vertibrate pollinators are currently threatened with extinction, and more than 40 per cent of invertebrate species threatened locally.

In a release by the IPBES, Vice-chair Sir Robert Watson commented on the causes:

"Wild pollinators in certain regions, especially bees and butterflies, are being threatened by a variety of factors. Their decline is primarily due to changes in land use, intensive agricultural practices and pesticide use, alien invasive species, diseases and pests, and climate change."

The report authors - which was compiled by 77 experts combing over more than 3000 scientific papers for two years - suggest the best ways to bolster the bee population include crop diversity, decreasing the use of pesticides, increasing the number of hives worldwide, educational outreach for farmers, scientists and the public, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

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