Bavarians vote to save bugs and birds—and change farming

In the face of plummeting insect and bird populations, citizens in the south German state are trying to make farmers preserve habitat.

Editor's Note: This story originally published on February 11, 2018. It has been updated to reflect the fact that the petition has obtained enough signatures to send it to the Bavarian legislature.

For the past two weeks Bavarians have been standing in lines, sometimes quite long ones, to sign a petition designed to save bees, other bugs, and the birds that eat them.

Weeks before carnival festivities officially plunge Germany into silly season, adults in bee costumes have been a common site on the streets of this south German state. In Erlangen a few elderly ones lay on their backs on the freezing pavement and pumped their arms and legs to simulate bee agony. In Munich’s Marienplatz on January 31, a crowd that had gathered to launch the “Save the Bees” petition also attempted to set a world record for sustained mass buzzing.

The petition itself is not light-hearted, however. Nor is it

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