Sci­en­tists Fi­nally Ac­knowl­edge Col­lapse of In­sect Pop­u­la­tions

Trillions - - In this Issue - By Tim Lon­car­ich

About twelve years ago I was driv­ing across the up­per mid­west­ern United States in late Spring, a time when there should have been plenty of in­sects on my car's wind­shield. After driv­ing more than 1,000 miles I did not have to clean my wind­shield.

While some may have wel­comed hav­ing a wind­shield de­void of bug-splat, I found it alarm­ing and deeply dis­turb­ing. "What hap­pened to all the bugs?" I thought.

In Oc­to­ber, the de­cline of fly­ing in­sects fi­nally made news. The news comes too late but at least some­one in a po­si­tion of author­ity has fi­nally no­ticed and some me­dia car­ried the story.

A study pub­lished in the Oc­to­ber 18 is­sue of the sci­ence jour­nal PLOS One re­ported the re­sults of a 27 year study which found a sea­sonal de­cline of fly­ing in­sects of 76%, and mid-sum­mer de­cline of 82% over the 27 years of study.

The study was con­ducted in 63 nature pro­tec­tion ar­eas in Ger­many, but the data is be­ing ap­plied to much of the Earth.

The re­searchers found that the col­lapse in fly­ing in­sects was ap­par­ent re­gard­less of habi­tat type, and that changes in weather, land use, and habi­tat can­not ex­plain the over­all de­cline.

The re­searchers warn that the study’s find­ings sug­gest that the world is “on course for eco­log­i­cal Ar­maged­don.”

Many fly­ing in­sects pol­li­nate plants and are food for birds and bats. They are an es­sen­tial and in­te­gral part of our planet's life support sys­tems. Bird and bat pop­u­la­tions have also plum­meted in many parts of the world and plant dis­tri­bu­tion is chang­ing rapidly with some species re­ceed­ing while oth­ers take their place.

With the col­lapse of the food chain, mam­mals are also af­fected. Wildlife pop­u­la­tions are es­ti­mated to have al­ready de­clined world­wide by 60%.

One of the likely causes of the col­lapse in in­sects is the wide­spread use of the her­bi­cide glyphosate, the lead­ing in­gre­di­ent in Mon­santo's Roundup weed killer. Uri­nal­y­sis of se­niors in Cal­i­for­nia found that ex­po­sure to glyphosate there has in­creased by 500% since ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied crops were in­tro­duced.

Glyphosate has been proven to dam­age DNA and rad­i­cally al­ters the mi­cro­biome in the in­tes­tine. It also rad­i­cally al­ters soil bi­ol­ogy and causes ge­netic mu­ta­tions in soil mi­crobes, essen­tially con­vert­ing farm­land around the world into pathogen fac­to­ries. Most species lack im­mu­nity to the new viruses, bac­te­ria and fun­gus cre­ated by the con­stant mu­ta­tions caused by glyphosate.

An in­creas­ing num­ber of coun­tries are ban­ning glyphosate but more cor­rupt coun­tries, such as the United States and Canada are in­creas­ing us­age, with the knowl­edge of the dam­age be­ing caused.

The EU al­most banned glyphosate in Oc­to­ber but some­how the vote was post­poned.

You can help support in­sects by not us­ing pes­ti­cides or her­bi­cides and by buy­ing Gmo-free prod­ucts. It also helps if you plant a va­ri­ety of flow­ers, in­clud­ing milk this­tle for Monarch but­ter­flies.

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