One of the world’s most expensive spices, vanilla originates in Mexico. Its blossoms are pollinated by bees – but with bees dying out due to widespread use of pesticides, the plant’s survival is at risk. Environmentalists are looking for solutions.
Vanilla's native Mexico is the only place in the world where the fragrant orchid is pollinated without human help. But pesticides threaten to wipe out the insects that do the job, in turn threatening human livelihoods.
Environment Minister Svenja Schulze says concerns over insect extinction have prompted demands for better safeguards. New research suggests 40 percent of insect species could be wiped out over the next few decades.
Surveys in Europe and North America show a dramatic decline in the number of bugs buzzing around. Although global data are missing, many researchers are convinced this environmental disaster is happening worldwide.
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