“On Course for Ecological Armageddon” – Researchers Sound Alarm as Insect Die-Off Worsens
Last year, the results of a German study on insect populations foretold of a massive global die-off in many inspect species. Now, scientists are sounding the alarm again following a new study, and warning that we are “on course for ecological Armageddon.”
Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline… We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse. ~Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK
Of note is the fact that in just 27 years we have seen a 75% decline in the total biomass of flying insects, as detailed in a study written up in the journal PLOS One. While careful not to assign blame for this stark reduction, the study notes that this decline is fairly uniform across many habitats, but notes that modern farmland has very little to offer flying insects. And as monoculture farmland spreads throughout the world, so does the use of agrochemicals.
It is, however, widely believed that bee colony collapse disorder is in large part a result of the widespread use and overuse of neonicotinoids, a class of insecticide popularized by corporate agrochemical giants like Monsanto, who continue to use these chemicals, even defending their use in public relations situation.
Research has shown that a variety of factors impact bee health, specifically parasitic mites and poor nutrition. Seed treatments like neonicotinoids can actually help bees by reducing topical spraying and unnecessary exposure to pesticides. When seed treatment products are used correctly, they are effective and have not been found to harm honey bees, or any other important pollinators. If you’re interested, you can read more about this in a blog post from Jerry Hayes, Monsanto’s honey bee health lead. ~Monsanto
Monsanto admits that the chemicals are causing a problem, but suggests that more creative use of these products is a solution. This is double-speak.
As argument on this issue continues, the problem only gets worse, which is why the use of the strong phrase ‘ecological Armageddon’ is appropriate. If we lose pollinator and other flying insects, we will be facing global starvation. In this light, comments from agrochemical corporations, such as the above comment by Monsanto, only help to ensure that the worst-case scenario will come to fruition.
Commenting on the release of this study and the impact of this news is Lynn Dicks from the University of East Anglia, UK:
It provides important new evidence for an alarming decline that many entomologists have suspected is occurring for some time. If total flying insect biomass is genuinely declining at this rate – about 6% per year – it is extremely concerning… Flying insects have really important ecological functions, for which their numbers matter a lot. They pollinate flowers: flies, moths and butterflies are as important as bees for many flowering plants, including some crops. They provide food for many animals – birds, bats, some mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Flies, beetles and wasps are also predators and decomposers, controlling pests and cleaning up the place generally. [Source]
The burden of changing this falls largely on the shoulders of global industry leaders, and those who set societal priorities. However, as individuals we can help to effect change by altering our buying habits, choosing to support organic food producers, and by creating healthy habitats for bees and other insects in our neighborhoods and communities.
Read more articles by Alex Pietrowski.
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
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