Fireflies are now threatened with extinction
Every child who has grown up East of the Rockies in rural America has seen the magic of fireflies in the night sky, but future generations of children may not get to experience this for themselves because the enjoyable insects are in decline across the country.
Earlier this year, the United Nations released an alarming report warning that one million species are at risk of extinction because of humans.
And insect species are definitely on the list. Not just fireflies, but many insects, putting the entire food chain at risk of collapse.
Unfortunately, humans are the reason why insects, including fireflies, are on the decline.
By spraying toxic pesticides, polluting our air and water, degrading the landscape, and emitting ever more carbon, we’ve essentially captured nature in a big glass Mason jar, screwed the lid tight, and neglected to punch holes in the top.
In fact, the loss of fireflies would also impact the medical community and many of the patients it treats every day.
Scientists say that the estimated 2,000 species of fireflies have been declining for years. Losing these glowing creatures, also known as “lightning bugs” in some parts of the U.S., robs future generations of one of the simplest and most pleasurable joys of childhood. It also robs doctors and researchers of a valuable diagnostic tool. By injecting chemicals found in a firefly’s tail into human cells, researchers can detect diseases like cancer and muscular dystrophy.
Fireflies are so important that the Selangor Declaration of 2010 warned that their loss would be a clear sign that the environment is unhealthy.
“Fireflies are indicators of the health of the environment and are declining across the world as a result of degradation and loss of suitable habitat, pollution of river systems, increased use of pesticides in agro-ecosystems and increased light pollution in areas of human habitation,” the declaration said. “The decline of fireflies is a cause for concern and reflects the global trend of increasing biodiversity loss.”
These friendly insects are beneficial to humans and are a joy to observe. They mean us absolutely no harm, yet we are killing them.
That being said, if we want our children and grandchildren to be able to see the glow of hundreds of fireflies on a cool summer night, we are going to have to take immediate action to make the environment suitable for their survival and take the necessary steps to fight climate change.
Featured Image: Wikimedia