Scientist sounds the alarm: Humans must save insects

The Earth faces a mass insect extinction that would likely take us down with them if we don’t do something about it, according to a Norwegian scientist who is sounding the alarm.

We may not know it, but insects determine much of our daily lives. They are responsible for pollinating plants that produce a lot of our food supplies, produce flowers that give our world beauty and produce the very air we breathe.

They also serve as a valuable food source, not just for humans, but for animals all around the globe in every ecosystem.

Just like trees, we need insects to live. We may not like them in our homes, but those creepy crawlers are a vital part of our everyday lives.

The problem is that insect populations are falling dramatically, and human activity is a major reason why. And that’s why Norwegian University of Life Sciences professor Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is warning us that we must step up to save them while we have a chance.

“Insects are the glue in nature and there is no doubt that both the [numbers] and diversity of insects are declining,” she said. “At some stage the whole fabric unravels and then we will really see the consequences. Global data suggests that while we humans have doubled our population in the past 40 years, the number of insects has been reduced by almost half – these are dramatic figures.”

In fact, the situation is so dire that nearly every report on the subject agrees that insects face extinction.

“There are lots of details to fill in, but 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,” Sverdrup-Thygeson continued.

While destruction of habitat for farming is a primary cause, Sverdrup-Thygeson says other factors have combined to create a deadly reality for insects.

“When you throw all the pesticides and climate change on top of that, it is not very cool to be an insect today,” she said before explaining why humans should care.

“I can understand people might not be interested in saving insects for insects’ sake. But people should realize this will come back on ourselves. We should save insects, if not for their sake, then for our own sake, because it 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. That should be a huge motivation for doing something while we still have time.”

“Without them, there would be much less chocolate for sure and maybe none,” she concluded. “You can pull out some threads but at some stage the whole fabric unravels and then we will really see the consequences. Then it will not be fun to be a human on this planet either.”

Insects play a major role in the food chain and provide many services for humans. They pollinate our gardens, provide food for other animals and clean up dead and decomposing plants and animals. They’re a key part in the circle of life and we won’t get along very well without them. As one million species face extinction around the world, we can’t afford to overlook the smallest creatures among us. They may be small, but their impact on us and the entire planet is huge.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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