November 22, 2017
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RECENTLY, a new study revealed that about 70 per cent of insect population has plummeted in one part of the world which has shocked many scientists and conservationists globally.

“I think the numbers are being honest with us. I don’t think we like hearing the numbers,” said entomologist Phil Torres, adding that it is a sign that humans should adhere to.

(For the uninitiated, two-thirds of life form on earth consists of insects.)

When prodded on the importance of insects on mankind’s survival, Torres said that insects benefit every human, not just at the personal level, especially in their natural critical roles in the preservation of ecosystem.

“Imagine if they are missing from this forest we are in right now, the birds would be affected because they wouldn’t have anything to eat, a lot of other mammals would be affected too. They are critical to maintaining the ecosystem on Earth.

“They are critical to pollinating our crops, providing food and honey for us. So, insects do have gains for humans personally. But, I also think insects are just good for the environment,” said Torres who has spent two years conducting research in the Amazon forest.

“We cannot afford another few decades and lose another 70 per cent. There are many other species out there that are affected by insects or probably being affected by the exact same thing that is causing the decline in the number of insects.

“This is just one small aspect of nature that people look at and measure. What else is out there in nature and is declining? It is unlikely a pretty picture and something that’s going to be really hard for us to actually face and say okay. This is our reality and we really need to make changes or a study of this nature is going to become gradually common,” said Torres.

He acknowledged that consumer behaviour has also led to this situation.

“We really need to take a look at how we are consuming things, how we are buying things, where everything is coming from and make some really strong changes,” he said.

The time has come for humans to reassess how nature is being treated — from looking at the destruction and contamination that humans have perpetuated and continue to do so, he implied.

“When you look at it, habitat destruction is number one. Secondly, we’re putting a lot of strange chemicals out into the environment and a lot of pesticides out that are not quite unregulated and antibiotics that are related to hormones.

“And a lot of these things have trickle-down effects in the ecosystem that we didn’t really predict a few decades ago … and they are adding up,” said Torres.


Video courtesy of Sathesh Raj

On effectively addressing the possibility of an eco-apocalypse future if the insects and nature continue to vanish and eventually ‘silenced’, Torres quipped, “I think it’s up to everybody to make small changes in their lives because it adds up.

“If people can keep making small decisions, that actually can make a big difference, especially when it comes to what they consume, how much they waste and where they’re buying their products from,” said Torres.

He also added that these are necessary small steps that matter in the long run for they would bring about significant changes.

“That’s gonna make a really big difference in the long run and we absolutely need to think about the next generation. Not just our children, but our great great grandchildren.

“What is the world gonna look like if this is what we’re dealing with now,” he concluded.


* Sathesh Raj is a regular contributor at www.astroawani.com. And yes, Sathesh loves all things nature.

 



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