While we’ve all been quarantined or practicing social distancing, certain people have gotten really into cooking or finishing an entire book within the span of a day, while others have indulged their passion for video games. In a nice parallel with the latter practice, this year’s 2020 Earth Day Google Doodle features an interactive game where the user can play as a tiny honeybee who’s endeavoring to pollinate as many flowers and plants as possible. Created in collaboration with the New York City-based Honeybee Conservancy, the interactive doodle points to the important role that thousands of species of bees play in maintaining the planet’s ecological production.
Honeybee Conservancy founder and director Guillermo Fernandez explained to Google that the impoverished neighborhood in which he grew up—where food literacy was extremely low and processed food was essentially all that was available—inspired him to eventually start the conservancy and to give back to communities where green space continues to be minimal. He also wanted to act to save the many different species of bees that are essential to the pollination of one in three bites of food eaten by humans. “In North America, currently one in four of the 4,000 native bee species are at risk of extinction,” Fernandez said. “On a larger scale, the world’s survival depends on theirs.”
Fernandez also listed a series of ways that people can support bees while social distancing, even if active beekeeping might not be for them. These methods include donating to local environmental groups, creating a “bee bath” for thirsty bees or planting a small pollinator garden.
“Since the game goes on as long as you want it to, you can end seeing thousands of flowers, trees, and bushes,” said Gerben Steenks, who created the art for the Google bee game. “We hope people understand the importance of bees to the earth and to humanity.” The game may be able to go on forever, but the same isn’t necessarily true for the planet’s resources, which is what makes messaging like this so necessary.