The bees have struck a chord with the population. Shortly before the end of the signature campaign, apparently enough supporters of the petition for a referendum on "species diversity – save the bees" have signed up throughout bavaria found. Although there are no official figures yet, there are non-trustworthy indicators that the initiators have taken the first important hurdle in order to be able to submit a draft law.
The bavarian government has apparently already prepared itself for this, because both minister president markus soder and environment minister thorsten glauber from forchheim have already verbally embraced it and announced that they will introduce a law that will do justice to both supporters and opponents of the petition for a referendum.
An average of around 14 percent
The federation nature protection, which pays to the circle of supporters of the popular initiative, has in forchheim for wednesday evening (20 o’clock) as a precaution already to an "election party" invited to his office in vogelstrabe. The evaluations from the county (as of 11.2.) prove the nature conservationists right: twelve municipalities had updated their figures on monday evening, 7131 of the votes cast there up to that point correspond to a share of 13.9 percent. In the city itself, 3415 signatures had been submitted by then (14.5 percent); in igensdorf (16.5), eggolsheim (16.7) and poxdorf (17.0), the proportion was highest. In addition, municipalities such as neunkirchen am brand, langensendelbach and ebermannstadt had last updated their figures before the weekend and were already able to show figures of between 15 and 18 percent at that time.
More skepticism in the countryside
What is striking: the more urban the community, the higher the percentage of supporters; in the more rural areas, there is more skepticism. Free according to the motto: anyone who informs himself cannot sign the petition with a clear conscience. But even among these municipalities, there are almost none that have not reached, or at least scratched, the ten percent mark that the proponents are aiming for. Most reservations were expressed in obertrubach (6.8 percent on monday evening), but even in weilersbach (9.6) or leutenbach (10.2) the arguments of the supporters did not catch on as strongly as elsewhere.
Assuming that, including wednesday, there are still votes to be cast, there should be nothing left to burn – extrapolated from forchheim to bavaria – from the point of view of the supporters. There is even a good chance that the petition for a referendum on "species diversity – save the bees" will be accepted could become the most successful in more than 50 years. In the munich region, there are municipalities in which more than 30 percent of the citizens entitled to vote have registered.
Lisa badum, member of the bundestag and spokeswoman for the forchheim district association of the grun: "i’m incredibly happy about this. Not only for bees and other endangered species like earthworms, but also for us humans. To submit a bill now is an important step in order to have a good livelihood and to be able to produce good natural products in the future. It’s amazing what we can do from the opposition. And this in winter, when nature is not in all its colors. This shows that people at large are interested in politics. Especially when it comes to something as concrete as bees, which are emblematic of endangered biodiversity.
I hope that the state government will now also interpret this sign correctly and that a proper solution will be found at the end of the process that now follows. I expect nothing less than a rough throw, because there are other topics such as the protection of forests or the revival of moors, which are related to biodiversity and which must now be put on the agenda." Hermann greif, district president of the farmers’ association of upper franconia: "after the run of the first days, the queues in front of the town halls became shorter. I think that through clarification, some people have realized that the petition for a referendum is not the egg of columbus. And it wasn’t just the farmers’ association that opposed the petition, but also hunters and individual beekeepers. Of course, we are not happy with the likely outcome, but in every crisis there is also an opportunity. The government can accept the bill, reject it or – and this is what it looks like to me – make a counter-proposal. We need a solution that is actually feasible from an agricultural point of view and that gets everyone on board. 150 years of industrial society have shaped nature as it is today. Pointing the finger at agriculture now is too easy. But we are taking an offensive approach and will challenge the people: are they themselves prepared to do something about what they have signed?? For example, with a change in their consumption behavior?"
Helmut schmitt, district group chairman of the landesbund fur vogelschutz (LBV) in forchheim: "i have just learned that the million has probably been cracked. The petition for a referendum has already brought movement to our cause. I see minister president soder’s announcement that he will convene a round table as an absolutely positive sign. Now let’s see what happens next."