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This Is What Your Dessert Options Will Look Like if Pollinators Go Extinct

A diminished Whole Foods aisle shows just how sad our world would look without bee and butterfly populations.
The dessert aisle, minus chocolate, frosting, cheesecake, and pretty much everything delicious.
The dessert aisle, minus chocolate, frosting, cheesecake, and pretty much everything delicious.Phil Bond Photography/Whole Foods

In a Whole Foods in Fremont, California, the dessert section is gutted. Shelves once filled with crème brulee, chocolate chip cookies, and squares of tiramisu are empty now, save for the occasional soy-based vegan “cheesecake” and coconut macaroon.

This is not the casualty of an overzealous kids’ birthday party, but the consequence of a large and pernicious trend: the decline of pollinators. Shrinking populations of bees, butterflies, and other species “is the most pressing biodiversity issue of our time,” says Eric Mader, the pollinator program co-director for The Xerces Society, an organization dedicated to insect conservation.