A new study published in The Lancet examines what might happen to humans’ health if there are not enough bees, birds, insects and other animals to pollinate the food that humans rely on for important vitamins and nutrients.
Dr. Samuel Myers, a Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a coauthor of the study, says fewer pollinators means more vitamin deficiency, more sickness and even death for humans.
Myers’ study examined 224 types of food in 156 countries, and what might happen to the people in these countries if there was a 50 percent, 75 percent or even 100 percent decline in animal pollinators.
“What we found was that in the least developed countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, we see a significant increase in the risk of vitamin A deficiency and folate deficiency,” Myers says.
Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, honey: these are all nutrition-rich foods that are produced with the help of animal pollinators, especially bees. In fact, an estimated 35 percent of the world’s food is dependent on animal pollinators.