The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Insects Must Be Saved to Prevent Collapse of Humanity, Top Scientist Warns
By Jake Johnson
A leading scientist warned Tuesday that the rapid decline of insects around the world poses an existential threat to humanity and action must be taken to rescue them "while we still have time."
Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and one of the world's top entomologists, said in an interview with The Guardian that the importance of insects to the planet should spur humans to take immediate action against one of the major causes of insect decline — the climate crisis.
"Insects are the glue in nature," said Sverdrup-Thygeson. "We should save insects, if not for their sake, then for our own sake."
Falling insect populations around the world is cause for serious alarm, Sverdrup-Thygeson said, given the enormous impact these tiny creatures have on the global ecosystem.
"I have read pretty much every study in English and I haven't seen a single one where entomologists don't believe the main message that a lot of insect species are definitely declining," said Sverdrup-Thygeson. "When you throw all the pesticides and climate change on top of that, it is not very cool to be an insect today."
If this decline continues unabated, Sverdrup-Thygeson warned, soon "it will not be fun to be a human on this planet either."
"[I]t will make it even more difficult than today to get enough food for the human population of the planet, to get good health and freshwater for everybody," said Sverdrup-Thygeson. "That should be a huge motivation for doing something while we still have time."
"You can pull out some threads," she added, "but at some stage the whole fabric unravels and then we will really see the consequences."
The complex systems of nature are like a hammock upon which humanity is resting: “You can pull out some threads but at some stage the whole fabric unravels and then we will really see the consequences.” #IPBES7 https://t.co/vn2dxkKx5Z— Rewilding Britain (@RewildingB) May 7, 2019
Sverdrup-Thygeson's call to action came after the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a comprehensive global biodiversity report, which warned that human activity has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.
According to the report, "available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10 percent [of insect species] being threatened" by the climate crisis.
"It is not too late to make a difference," said IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson, "but only if we start now at every level from local to global."
A third of insects are #endangeredspecies, & they are going #extinct at a rate 8 times that of #birds, #mammals, & #reptiles. That amounts to a loss of 2.5% of insect mass every year over the last 3 decades: https://t.co/koPvCnIvvu via @EcoWatch #StopExtinction— Defenders of Wildlife (@Defenders) February 13, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
- World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity ... ›
- Insects, biodiversity, and mass extinction: an alarming new study ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A UN expert painted a bleak picture Tuesday of how the climate crisis could impact global inequality and human rights, leading to a "climate apartheid" in which the rich pay to flee the consequences while the rest are left behind.
Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?
EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."
By Sharon Kelly
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
By Craig K. Chandler
The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.