11 February 2019

The insect decline has hit the mainstream

Which is good, in as much as that increases the chance of something being done about it.

The science types have been aware of this for years; work on trying to figure out why the whole guild -- that is, a group of organisms with a similar ecological role, not necessarily related -- of aerial insectivores has been declining has been going since at least 2010.

(Some bats, some birds, and some other bugs all eat bugs by catching them [in flight].  All are declining.)

The answer is not "climate change", or at least not directly.  (Climate change isn't helping.) The answer is "pesticides".

Persistent biologically accumulating toxins eventually kill everything.  It's important to remove any such thing from agriculture, other environment dumping, and to not stop at "this was made for that purpose"; the incidental (all the hormone-analogs and mimics released by the plastics industry, for example) counts, too.

It's important to not allow a lot of hand-wringing and pointing to a need for study to slow or stop the immediate need to completely phase out any such thing; lawns, golf courses, highway verges, farm fields, wetlands, everywhere and anywhere the answer is not so much "you may not" (though it is, indeed, "you must not") but to destroy the ability to produce the stuff, globally.  With about the fervor and focus that would be applied to someone selling bulk refined plutonium; that could kill us all.  The pesticides are killing us all, and (like the climate) we don't have very much longer and the only way to find out for sure how long we've got would be to keep going until all are dead.


Peter T said...

But who will think of the stockholders?

Graydon said...

+Peter T

It is thinking of the stockholders, who do have to eat, and who are probably not paying enough attention to recognize just how entirely those guillotine jokes the kids make are not in fact jokes.

Moz said...

Amusingly this came up in my feed reader between a Guradian article on the problem and a Conversation "kids" explainer on the topic... I think it's the problem du jour.

Peter T said...

Well somebody has to think for the stockholders, for they surely do not do it themselves. The economics of monumental obtuseness is much understudies (I think only JK Galbraith gave it serious attention).