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15 September, 2019

McB&B's are here to stay

Vernon Dias
Bees are essential to the production of around 75% of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils we eat. But the numbers of these pollinators have been decreasing at alarming rates recently. McDonald’s are now looking to change this trend.

I spent the week in a beautiful countryside town in the South of Germany where the silence was so freakin’ loud. Serenity did a gentle foxtrot with the wind amongst the white fog, blue skies, and green hills. I was so lucky to be there.

I bumped into my 81-year-old neighbour several times, and she invited me over for dinner. She has a beautiful home that she designed with exquisite taste, minimalistic standards, and one with nature. I spoke to her about the positive changes I was making in my life. I told her about how I am trying hard to give up plastic, grow veggies in the restrictive confines of my apartment, teach my kids to respect nature, and live a low waste life. I shared my feelings about these changes and how they improved my overall health and made me a lot happier.

She listened intently and took me around her house to show me how she had been living plastic-free and one with nature for years now. It was fascinating, and I learned so much more during those few hours. She reminisced about the time she grew up on a bee farm and told me some beautiful stories about how bees were so important as pollinators. She was now quite sad because recently, very few bees were visiting her flower garden. She was extremely concerned.

I left so enlightened but also very worried. But like most things in my life, a moment of negativity is quickly followed by positivity.

An exciting story about McDonald’s and their McHives in Sweden popped up on my social media feed. Earlier this year, on World Bee Day, McDonald’s marketing agency Nord DDB created a pint-sized McDonald’s eatery with bee box interiors where the insects could live. This eatery was the world’s smallest McDonald’s.

McBandB

What started as a small local idea soon became a national movement. McDonald’s locations all over the country took it upon themselves to give the bees a hand, by turning their roofs into safe havens for the insects and setting up hives where they can thrive. The franchisees also replaced the grass around their restaurants with flowers and plants that are important for the wellbeing of wild bees.

At the same time, McDonald’s along with JC Decaux started creating habitats for wild bees on the back of north-facing billboards (bees are most comfortable with south-facing nests). Since these spaces are usually left empty, so their design team decided to maximise their use. Outside Stockholm, six large bee hotels were set up. Some McDonald’s restaurants have also opened their own bee hotels by setting up permanent wood signs with holes drilled into the text, ALWAYS OPEN.

I was so pleased to read these stories and realised that while all of us have created this horrible situation, there is hope, thanks to tiny initiatives like this. May there be more McB&B’s all over the world…