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The scoop: 40% of insect species are at risk of extinction.
Why it matters: We need bugs to survive and thrive.
- Pollination: Pollinators pollinate plants; we need them to keep doing that.
- Pest control: Paradoxically, predatory and parasitic insects kill pests.
- Decomposition: Some insects are primary or secondary decomposers. They serve an important function to clean-up animal waste.
- Food security: Many mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians depend on bugs for food. They are a quick and easy resource for a nutritious meal.
- Research and innovation: Technology mimics nature (think birds and planes). Researchers can observe the ethology of insects and learn new ways to innovate. An example? Ant colony optimization in computer science.
What's causing the insect decline: Habitat loss from agriculture and urbanization is the #1 driver. Agro-chemical pollutants (think pesticides), invasive species and climate change also play a role. You can check out some cool charts and figures below to learn more.
How to help: Contribute to the fight against pesticides, support or start a small farm, and educate others about the importance of insects. A more positive perception of 'bug people' can also lead to change.
Bottom line: We need bugs to survive, yet insect populations are on the decline. This issue deserves more recognition.
Dig deeper → 4 min
The scoop Pesticides promote large-scale agriculture, yet damage environmental and human health…
Risks for humans
- At least 200,000 deaths each year.
- Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
- Hormone disruption, developmental disorders, sterility
- Loss of: memory, motor skills, vision and coordination
- Asthma, allergies, hypersensitivity
Environmental risks Traces of pesticides are found in the air, soil, and water (thus spreading far and harming wildlife including: pollinators, amphibians, birds, fish, and invertebrates). Bee colony collapse and reproductive issues are highly concerning.
What can be done? A “systemic denial fueled by the pesticide and agroindustry” keep pesticides on the market. Luckily, the UN proposes international guidelines on regulating pesticides, while promoting agroecology: a practice which combines science and local knowledge to create community-based, agricultural systems.
The UN finds that Agroecology can “feed the entire world population and ensure that they are adequately nourished.” Using agroecology, the world could be fed, and we could drop the risks that pesticides inflict!
What can I do?
- Research your local Congressman’s stance on Pesticide Bans. Vote!
- Grow a garden. You’ll help pollinators and enjoy pesticide-free produce.
- Helpful resources…
- Watch Neonicotinoids: The New DDT? free
- Watch: Circle of Poison
- Read Silent Spring
Dig deeper → 3 min