There's a strange buzzing on rooftops in Stockholm, and it's spreading across town. It's the buzzing of honeybees.
During a guided tour in Stockholm's city national park Josefina Oddsberg and Karolina Lisslö discovered that pollinators were disappearing and that this has serious effects on the environment.
Honeybees pollinate every third bite that you eat, and 84% of all plants in the EU depend on pollinators. But the pollinators are having a difficult time, and bees are starting to disappear all over the world.
In areas where pollinators are scarce, farmers are forced to either pollinate their crops by hand or rent in beehives for the time when the crop is in bloom.
The guided tour in Stockholm gave rise to an exciting idea. By placing and managing beehives around the city they developed a concept that was sensitive to both social needs and ecological requirements. Soon it grew from a non-profit network into an exciting business idea called Bee Urban.
"We were looking for a way to introduce more hives, and faster, and also to be able to make a living from our idea," says Josefina. She graduated from the Ecosystems, governance and globalisation programme at Stockholm Resilience Centre in 2011. Her master thesis was about the institutional conditions for and values of co-management of green areas in urban environments.
Today, Bee Urban offers companies and individuals the opportunity to adopt beehives or individual bees. Bee Urban takes care of the bees and the maintenance of the hives. The hives are often placed on the rooftops of the companies who adopt them. Companies who adopt a whole hive also get the honey from their bees, with their own logo, as a way to show their contribution to urban ecosystem services.
Lectures and enlightenment
So far eleven companies have adopted hives and Bee Urban now has 34 beehives in 17 different places in Stockholm. A number of private people have also adopted bees. For a couple of Swedish krona per bee it's even possible to adopt via sms or buy a gift certificate.
Josefina and Karolina also spread knowledge and awareness about the importance of pollination and bees, and the impact of pollinators locally as well as globally. They regularly give lectures and arrange seminars, and occasionally informative honey-tasting evenings.
"Green areas are not just pretty but also living systems that perform functions and services. The beehives in urban gardens and on rooftops prevent biodiversity loss and generate services that influence the urban environment in a positive way," says Josefina.