(ORDO NEWS) — Surely you noticed that books, films, games, comics, and generally everything about the apocalypse are very popular. True, recently this apocalyptic romance has taken on an increasingly real shape and its place has been gradually taken by chilling horror: for several years now, scientists have been sounding the alarm about the upcoming “insect apocalypse” – the global extinction of small creatures, which, according to some estimates, has already touched 80 % of the global insect population.
Now, according to a warning published immediately by 25 scientists from around the world, if humanity does not manage to save the world population of insects from death, this could lead to … the extinction of mankind.
How it all ends
In two open letters published in the journal Biological Conservation, researchers condemn environmental pollution, the destruction of the natural habitat of wild animals and climate change, which, in their opinion, caused the mass death of insects on the planet. Each species is a unique part of the history of life on our planet, scientists write. The Guardian newspaper quotes researchers as saying:
The current insect extinction crisis is deeply disturbing. But what we know is just the tip of the iceberg, but we know enough to act immediately. There are already solutions – we must act in accordance with them. Human activity is responsible for almost all the reduction in the number of insects and their extinction.
Researchers said all solutions are known and should be implemented immediately. Necessary measures range from creating large nature reserves and refusing to use harmful pesticides to individual actions, such as refusing to mow the lawn and deciding to leave dead wood in the garden. Scientists also said that invertebrates should no longer be ignored by conservation organizations, which tend to focus on protecting mammals and birds.
Why do insects die out?
A drop in insect numbers has been reported in Germany, Puerto Rico and other countries. The first global scientific review, published in February 2019, said that if the situation does not change, the world will overtake a “catastrophic collapse of natural ecosystems”. The report notes that about a fifth of all species of insects in the world were named, and these are mostly single specimens. Many species of insects die out even before they are described. It is likely that the extinction of insects from the time of industrialization is about 5-10%, that is, from 250,000 to 500,000 species.
This estimate is based on the extinction of snails. Professor Pedro Cardoso of the Finnish Museum of Natural History and lead author of the latest report writes: “This is the best mark we have. There is no reason to believe that the extinction trends between insects and snails are different, but the snails leave their shells as evidence. ” The article also notes that British populations of butterflies and beetles quickly disappeared back in the 1870s.
Matt Shardlow, chief executive officer of the Buglife conservation group, believes that a key report in 2016 told world governments that the decline in the number of natural pollinators (bees, butterflies, etc.) poses a danger to society and ecosystems. However, given the reaction of world leaders to scientific reports on climate change, the publication of the report on the extinction of insects did not cause a proper response from the heads of state. Scientists still sound the alarm in the hope that politicians will heed their words and take action before it is too late.
The main causes of insect death, according to scientists, are the destruction of the natural habitat for agriculture and construction; heavy use of pesticides; industrial pollution and light pollution; invasive alien species; as well as the climate crisis.
Along with large-scale insect-friendly solutions, gardens can help stop the decline in insect numbers. When many people implement these small solutions at their sites, this can go a long way for many insect populations. Even a couple of small kindergartens can be of great importance for the survival of the species.
However, the problem is complicated by the fact that many people have learned not to like insects: some co-authors of the report believe that dislike for insects is a cultural phenomenon, as young children, as a rule, are not afraid of them.
One way or another, insects provide humans with “everything from pollination and decomposition to resources for new medicines, an indication of the quality of the environment” and much more. In fact, if the aliens carefully looked at our planet, they would have thought it was a planet of beetles, and people simply live at their expense. Unfortunately, the question today is how long we can do without their help.
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