Hot on the heels of President Trump's announcement that he'll withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, Second Lady Karen Pence introduced a beehive to the Vice President's residence. Explaining she wanted to draw attention to the quickly declining global bee population, Pence's beehive contains about 20,000 bees. In a speech, Pence explained the necessity of bees for American agriculture and urged citizens to plant their own bee-friendly plants, and to consider having their own beehives. As the current administration has endlessly denied climate change, humans' negative impact on the environment, and, you know, science in general, it's a little odd, if welcome, to see Karen Pence address the bee extinction issue both straightforwardly and correctly.
To refresh your memory on this whole bee thing, in recent years, the bee population in North America and worldwide has been rapidly declining. And because bees are such important pollinators, an action that, you may remember from elementary school, is essential for making sure plants grow and thrive so we can eat and breathe, this is not great. According to a report called "Pollinators in Peril" that the Center for Biological Diversity released in February, more than half of native bee species (with sufficient data to examine) are in decline, and "nearly 1 in 4 is imperiled and at increasing risk of extinction." This population decline, the report says, is due almost entirely to "agricultural expansion, habitat loss and climate change."
So, Karen Pence may not have uttered the phrase "climate change," but what she's doing is great for the environment which, in this crazy mixed-up world, seems almost subversive. Even more subversive, though? She seems to taking cues from the former First Lady. Michelle Obama introduced a beehive—and 35,000 bees—to the White House Garden in 2009.