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The Future of Insects

Insects Pesticides Extinction Ecology Environment

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11 replies to this topic

#1
caltrek

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Full disclosure:  I was once a volunteer activist for what became a local chapter of the Pesticide Action Network.

 

There has been enough media buzz about this issue lately that I think it deserves its own thread.

 

We also have a thread on Mosquitos:

 

https://www.futureti...5287-mosquitos/

 

Articles, comments, and discussion narrowly focused on mosquitos should be made to that thread.

 

Conservationist Warns 'Unnoticed Apocalypse' of Insects 'Should Set Alarms Ringing'

 

https://www.commondr...-alarms-ringing

 

Introduction:

 

(Common Dreams) Conservationists on Wednesday called for immediate action by governments, industries, and the public to address a decades-long, human-caused insect "apocalypse" detailed in a new report and warned of the sweeping, serious consequences of inaction.

 

Insect Declines and Why They Matter (pdf) was commissioned by an alliance of The Wildlife Trusts in the United Kingdom and authored by University of Sussex biology professor Dave Goulsondescribed by The Guardian as "one of the U.K.'s leading ecologists."

 

"Insects make up the bulk of known species on Earth and are integral to the functioning of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, performing vital roles such as pollination, seed dispersal, and nutrient cycling. They are also food for numerous larger animals, including birds, bats, fish, amphibians, and lizards," Goulson said in a statement Wednesday. "If we don't stop the decline of our insects, there will be profound consequences for all life on Earth."

 

The report's executive summary says that over that past 50 years, "we have reduced the abundance of wildlife on Earth dramatically." Although "much attention focuses on declines of large, charismatic animals," the report continues, "recent evidence suggests that abundance of insects may have fallen by 50% or more since 1970."

 

Recent findings on insect declines driven by habitat loss and pesticide use are "troubling" because "if insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse," the report explains. Underscoring the need for action, the report warns that 41% of the planet's five million insect species are "threatened with extinction."

 

 

 

 

Edit:  "Media buzz" - no pun intended.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
wjfox

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Just my two cents.

 

1. Eating insects (bred in captivity) will become a lot more popular.

 

2. Insects in the wild will continue to decline, until there's a radical improvement in agriculture, pesticides and general pollution, which I don't foresee happening until at least 2050.


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#3
zEVerzan

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What about using CRISPR to eradicate malaria? I remember hearing about that a few years ago but I still don't really understand it.

 

What about bedbugs? They were just an intrinsic aspect of human existence since we lived in caves and they evolved from the batbugs that once fed on the bats. Suddenly in the 40s DDT and other horrid pesticides nearly wiped them out, but they're coming back stronger n nastier than ever, globally. I doubt eradicating them again would have any adverse effect on the ecosystem but the question is how?


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I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
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#4
wjfox

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What about using CRISPR to eradicate malaria? I remember hearing about that a few years ago but I still don't really understand it.

 

Yes, there's an effort underway known as "gene drives".

 

See: 2029 – Mass application of gene drives on mosquitoes


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#5
caltrek

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Holland covers hundreds of bus stops with plants as gift to honeybees

 

https://www.independ...FWAQj4noQihEjb8

 

Introduction:

 

(Independent) The roofs of hundreds of bus stops have been covered in plants as a gift to honeybee, by a city in the Netherlands. 

 

Mainly made up of sedum plants, a total of 316 have been covered in greenery in Utrecht

 

The shelters not only support the city’s biodiversity, such as honey bees and bumblebees, but they also help capture fine dust and store rainwater.

 

The roofs are looked after by workers who drive around in electric vehicles, and the bus stops have all been fitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches.

 

They are just one of a number of measures Utrecht has introduced in a bid to improve air quality.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
CyberMisterBeauty

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Just my two cents.

 

1. Eating insects (bred in captivity) will become a lot more popular.

 

2. Insects in the wild will continue to decline, until there's a radical improvement in agriculture, pesticides and general pollution, which I don't foresee happening until at least 2050.

 

Doyou think it will become popular to use genetic engineering to create insects as large as in pre historic times and use robotic technology to create large insect pets?



#7
zEVerzan

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If they were robots, they wouldn't be insects, would they.

 

The reason there were hawk-sized dragonflies and SUV-sized millipedes for a time is because there was just a stupid amount of oxygen in the atmosphere (maybe 50%? Don't quote me on that) that could sustain animals with book lungs efficiently. If you tried to make bugs that big again they would probably suffocate.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
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#8
That-Guy

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I will not eat bugs.

 

I will not live in a pod.



#9
zEVerzan

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Ok, boomer

More for the rest of us.
I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#10
caltrek

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I am kind of with That-Guy on this one.  I am also, in part, a libertarian, so if that is good for the rest of you I have no problem with that.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#11
Yuli Ban

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I will not eat bugs.

I admit that insects sound disgusting since I've never eaten one willingly, and there is a statistic that says that if you haven't eaten something by age 25, you'll almost certainly never eat it. 

 

 

BUT, I do think we exaggerate our aversion to insects as food, because we regularly consume a type of creature very closely related to insects (hint: they are both arthropods and one could somewhat accurately consider these creatures to be "sea bugs"). Being from Louisiana, I can vouch for the deliciousness of crustaceans.

Shrimp, crawfish (who are even called "mudbugs" down here), crabs, lobsters, and whatnot have no cultural distance from food. 

Non-Western societies regularly eat insects, so there's no innate revulsion to them. It's just a matter of culture. It's not going to change quick enough before we can simply grow any meat we want, but I at least know it could theoretically change given enough time and coordinated effort.

 

But this is probably a better fit for the Future of Food thread.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#12
zEVerzan

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You ever had those mexican roasted grasshoppers, fresh? They taste a lot like shrimp. Seasoning makes it pop. It's not all bad- if you flat-out refuse to try anything new your brain probably has the texture of a cue ball since it's never made a wrinkle


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+





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