The number of flying insects has plummeted by 75 per cent in the last 25 years, according to a study that suggests we are approaching an “ecological Armageddon”. The implications for humanity are profound, with insects providing an essential role for life on earth as pollinators of plants and prey for larger animals.
But exactly what is causing their death is open to debate. It could be simply that there is no food for them or it could be, more specifically, exposure to chemical pesticides, or a combination of the two.
For the last 10 years or so, British beekeepers have lost nearly a third of their bee colonies each year on average. This is thought to be a result of vanishing flowers and grassland: flower-rich grassland has declined an astounding 97 percent since the 1930’s.
Although it was known species such as bees and butterflies were declining, scientists were left shocked by the drop in numbers across nature reserves in Germany. The results are based on the work of dozens of amateur entomologists across Germany, who have been catching insects in malaise traps – large tent-like structures that funnel insects into a collecting cylinder.
When the weight of the samples taken from the malaise traps was compared to samples taken in 1989, an average loss of 76 per cent was recorded. The decline was even starker in summer – when insect numbers are at their highest – with a loss of 82 per cent.
What can be derived from this? It seems everything has a consequence. Every single chemical that is synthesized and then placed somewhere in the environment has consequences that resound much further than anybody wants to take into consideration.
Less is more in this era of invisible consequences. When people see the problems day after day, and for several years straight nothing is done to better the problems as they continue to worsen, morale among activists decreases, with no end in sight to the lack of inspiration. People need their inspiration.