One man is making quite the buzz with his original take on spreading awareness about bees. Mathew Willey, founder of The Good of the Hive Initiative, is making it his personal mission to hand paint 50,000 images of honeybees around the world in a total of 50 murals. Willey picked 50,000 as a goal because that’s the number of bees it takes for a healthy hive to operate and thrive. Willey’s objective is to raise awareness about the population decline of honeybees while celebrating their unique behavioral traits that make them so essential for our ecosystem to survive and thrive.

This activist artist has already painted around 1,000 honeybees in various places like Florida, Seattle and over at the Burt’s Bees headquarters in Durham, North Carolina. Given the intricacy and beauty of these murals, we can only imagine the powerful impact they have had on the places where they appear.

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Willey describes the hive as being a metaphor for communities of people to “think collectively.” He stresses that the stronger the connections we make as groups – whether it be military veterans or gay people – the greater impact we are able to have on society.

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Willey has combined his talents as a designer, scenic artist, and painter, creating murals on homes and businesses around the U.S. for the past 24 years. He hopes these murals will act as a catalyst to spread the message about bees, but also inspire communities to come together to take action

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This artist has every right to be concerned about the state of honeybee decline as they are crucial for the survival of the human race. One-third of our crops rely on bee pollination to grow including almonds, broccoli, cherries, cucumbers, blueberries, and around 100 more.

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However, with powerful pesticides used on these crops such as Neonicotinoids, the honeybee population has seen a decrease by thirty percent in the last decade only. While this dangerous pesticide has been banned in other countries around the world but is still commonly used in the United States.

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The mission behind Willey’s project is absolutely admirable and one that we can all get behind – after all, if bees go, we are sure to follow shortly behind. The good news is we can all take action to protect bees – and we don’t need to traverse the globe painting murals to do it (although if you can, that’s awesome).  Buying organic is an effective way to use your dollar to vote against pesticide use. There are also different organizations seeking support where you can add your voice to advocate for bees. To learn more about Matt Willey’s mission and how to support him click here.

All image source: Matt Willey