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If the 6th mass extinction is really underway, the Armageddon has begun with insects. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) 2019 global assessment report revealed that
“In total, at least one million species are facing extinction in the coming decades, half of them being insects”
There is some bad news in store for SDG15 aka life on land. Scientists believe the disappearance of bugs could be a sign of a mass extinction event. The last mass extinction happened roughly 66 million years ago; an event remembered for wiping out dinosaurs. Unless we want to become fossils, we desperately need urgent action to stop this insect apocalypse.
Insects provide irreplaceable services to us. They are crucial for maintaining our food supply chain, limit soil erosion, provide medical products, keeps pests under control, to just name a few. To give you some numbers –
Therefore, it is no debate that insects are crucial for all life on land and thereby the survival of mankind.
So, what is triggering this insect apocalypse? If you haven’t guessed it already, the answer is humans. A recent report by the Alliance of World Scientists, “Scientists’ warning to humanity on insect extinctions”, states that
“Humans are causing insect extinctions by driving habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, use of polluting and harmful substances, the spread of invasive species, global climate change, direct overexploitation, and co-extinction of species dependent on other species.”
The silver lining is that we humans can reverse this awful trend, and work towards meeting the SDG15. We have the solutions and these solutions can be implemented to save and nurture life on land.
However, we need to start acting now. Thankfully, the scientists who are warning us about this insect apocalypse, have also published a research paper detailing out how humanity can conserve insects. I have summarized their suggestions, but I highly recommend that you read their paper –
In the end, it is about respecting all types of life forms, especially the little ones. They enrich our lives and provide us with countless valuable resources. The least we can do is protect them. I want to end this article with a message from Dalai Lama XIV, who has eloquently summarised this feeling
“Many of the earth’s habitats, animals, plants, insects and even micro-organisms that we know to be rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability and the responsibility to act; we must do so before it is too late.”