Bee impressed

17 July 2019 | Liz Bowen

If you’re as big a fan of David Attenborough as I am (let’s face it, who isn’t…?) it’s not hard to understand how or why the world’s greatest naturalist has also become its most vocal eco-warrior.

As series after series is developed, from Planet Earth to Blue Planet, the message behind each one is also developing – the human population is having a catastrophic effect on the natural world, from the destruction of coral reefs and rainforests to the amount of single-use plastic we produce each year.

Yet one of the biggest - and unsuspecting - victims of climate change is the humble honeybee.

There has been much in the press over the past few months about the many ways in which people can help bees. Some of it is helpful – plant more flowers for pollination; while some of it really isn’t – a ‘tip’ supposedly from Attenborough encouraging people to leave out a spoonful of sugar (and water) was revealed to be fake. Mary Poppins would be outraged.

What then, about a pizza? A beezza, if you will (Papa John’s name, not mine). The pizza chain has teamed up with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, from the 15th July to 1st September. Online customers will be able to donate change from their orders to the charity.

To coincide with the launch of the partnership, the chain has created a miniature version of its famous takeaway pizza, measuring less than one inch in diameter, made with real Papa John’s dough, paired with passata, wild herbs and edible flowers; including Forget Me Nots, Rose Geraniums and sprinkled with a mix of local pollen, plus rosemary and thyme, which experts say are all favourites of bees, thanks to the fragrances, colours and easy-to-access nectar.

Sure, the combination may sound a little disconcerting to the usual takeaway fan, but don’t worry, it’s not for general consumption anyways.

While it’s clear the ‘beezza’ is a PR stunt to raise awareness of the bees’ plight, today has seen Papa John’s launch a new fiery honey-drizzled pizza called ‘The Bee Sting’ for the more human amongst us.

Like it’s mini counterpart, the pizza has been designed to highlight the impact of climate change which is causing the decline of the humble honeybee.

It may sound like a random pairing, but as Darryl Cox, senior science and policy officer of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, pointed out – without bees there would be no pizza. He said: “Tomato plants hold their pollen in extremely tight structures and literally need a bumblebee to buzz the pollen out to fertilise the flowers.” Who knew?!

This has all the ingredients (geddit…) of a great campaign. Not only is the subject ridiculously topical – climate change and its effects – it has the added bonus of raising awareness of a lesser known fact; just how much we rely on honeybees for the everyday food we probably take for granted.

Well done to Papa John’s for creating such a buzz. (Sorry…I’m done now.)