‘Alarming’ loss of insects – so why the jokes?

An article on the BBC News website yesterday highlighted analysis, published in the journal, Nature, which confirms that some insect species are being pushed down the path to extinction.

The article quoted a Dr Sebastian Seibold of the Technical University of Munich in Freising, Germany, who said – unequivocally in our opinion – that, “It is becoming clearer and clearer that the drivers of insect decline are related to farming practices“.

Dr Seibold went on to say that, “Our study confirms that insect decline is real – it might be even more widespread than previously thought considering, for example, that also forests are experiencing declines in insect populations. I think it’s alarming to see that such a decline happens not only in intensively-managed areas but also in protected areas – so the sites that we think are safeguarding our biodiversity are not really working anymore.”

There is nothing new here – even the original report was published several years ago. But anyone who is even half-interested in biodiversity loss and the crashing of ecosystems knows full well that global insect decline is linked to intensive agriculture and pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change.

That insects are a key food source for many birds, amphibians, bats, reptiles, fish, and even other insects, while many plants (and some crops) rely on insects for pollination.

That the increasingly poor health of the approximately 1.5 million species of insects globally is much more relevant than saying that rising numbers of domesticated honeybees is proof that all is well in the ‘insect world’.

That insects, in the words of the UK charity Buglife, are “the small things that run the planet“.

That as the scientists at Buglife say on their homepage, “To avert ecological ruin, we must urgently reverse habitat fragmentation, prevent and mitigate climate change, clean-up polluted waters and replace pesticide dependency with more sustainable, ecologically-sensitive farming“.

While everyone surely understands the position we’re all in, not everyone is concerned. You just have to read the comments below the BBC article (any article on any website in fact) to see that: serious, thoughtful comments are admixed with glib ‘jokes’ about vegans and venus fly-traps, contorted references to the EU, and gleeful jabs at conservation (‘if conservation measures and environmental protection have been in place for so long, how come things are so bad‘? Can you even imagine how bad things would be without conservation?).

In our ‘About‘ page we quote broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham and his feeling that the destruction of wildlife and the environment was becoming normalised. Chris wrote, “We must rouse ourselves from this complacent stupor, because we are presiding over an ecological apocalypse and precipitating a mass extinction in our own backyard.”

He is absolutely correct. That’s exactly what we’re doing, every single serious report details it and explains why.

It’s uncomfortable to admit that what we’re doing is harmful. But it’s also the first step towards halting or reversing it. Part of the process of being roused is understanding that there is a serious risk of an apocalypse, but also knowing that we can – if we take the solutions as seriously as the problems – do something about it, and that all of us have a role to play no matter how small.

Talking of ‘small’ and ‘roles’, sure, WoW is not a global movement. We currently occupy just a tiny corner of the internet, but we believe in this project. We will grow it. Especially by working with like-minded organisations and individuals. Because we know exactly how important it is to join forces around the world and how important it is to tackle the War On Wildlife.