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Tue Nov 27, 2018, 12:54 PM

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth? NYT

New York Times
Brooke Jarvis
Nov. 27, 2018


The current worldwide loss of biodiversity is popularly known as the sixth extinction: the sixth time in world history that a large number of species have disappeared in unusually rapid succession, caused this time not by asteroids or ice ages but by humans. When we think about losing biodiversity, we tend to think of the last northern white rhinos protected by armed guards, of polar bears on dwindling ice floes. Extinction is a visceral tragedy, universally understood: There is no coming back from it. The guilt of letting a unique species vanish is eternal.

But extinction is not the only tragedy through which we’re living. What about the species that still exist, but as a shadow of what they once were? In “The Once and Future World,” the journalist J.B. MacKinnon cites records from recent centuries that hint at what has only just been lost: “In the North Atlantic, a school of cod stalls a tall ship in midocean; off Sydney, Australia, a ship’s captain sails from noon until sunset through pods of sperm whales as far as the eye can see. ... Pacific pioneers complain to the authorities that splashing salmon threaten to swamp their canoes.” There were reports of lions in the south of France, walruses at the mouth of the Thames, flocks of birds that took three days to fly overhead, as many as 100 blue whales in the Southern Ocean for every one that’s there now. “These are not sights from some ancient age of fire and ice,” MacKinnon writes. “We are talking about things seen by human eyes, recalled in human memory.”

What we’re losing is not just the diversity part of biodiversity, but the bio part: life in sheer quantity. While I was writing this article, scientists learned that the world’s largest king penguin colony shrank by 88 percent in 35 years, that more than 97 percent of the bluefin tuna that once lived in the ocean are gone. The number of Sophie the Giraffe toys sold in France in a single year is nine times the number of all the giraffes that still live in Africa.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect-apocalypse.html


I can’t do this article justice. Read the whole thing and continue the fight to save our lives and our earth’s precious and fellow passengers.

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Reply The Insect Apocalypse Is Here What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth? NYT (Original post)
bronxiteforever Nov 27 OP
Cattledog Nov 27 #1
bronxiteforever Nov 27 #2
snort Nov 27 #9
anarch Nov 27 #3
librechik Nov 27 #4
jgmiller Nov 27 #5
liberaltrucker Nov 27 #6
Blue_true Nov 27 #8
snort Nov 27 #10
Blue_true Nov 27 #11
The_jackalope Nov 27 #7

Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 02:13 PM

1. This paragraph from the article says it all

When asked to imagine what would happen if insects were to disappear completely, scientists find words like chaos, collapse, Armageddon. Wagner, the University of Connecticut entomologist, describes a flowerless world with silent forests, a world of dung and old leaves and rotting carcasses accumulating in cities and roadsides, a world of “collapse or decay and erosion and loss that would spread through ecosystems” — spiraling from predators to plants. E.O. Wilson has written of an insect-free world, a place where most plants and land animals become extinct; where fungi explodes, for a while, thriving on death and rot; and where “the human species survives, able to fall back on wind-pollinated grains and marine fishing” despite mass starvation and resource wars. “Clinging to survival in a devastated world, and trapped in an ecological dark age,” he adds, “the survivors would offer prayers for the return of weeds and bugs.”

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Response to Cattledog (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 02:16 PM

2. Agree. Absolutely chilling and necessary read and great quote.

I have a noticed a drop in bee and butterfly population in my yard.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 07:19 PM

9. Gas stations have buckets with cleanser and squeegees

for scrubbing insect laden windshields. They were a must 30 years ago. Not anymore.

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Response to Cattledog (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 02:56 PM

3. I also find this particular sentence to be a succinct yet fairly inclusive summary

Kinda covers a lot of how I feel about humanity's current predicament:

“It feels like we’ve dropped the ball in some giant collective way.”

Yeah, it really does.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 03:01 PM

4. In the future, GrubHub will have a whole new meaning...

learning to like roachburgers.

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 04:01 PM

5. I've always said Earth doesn't need saving

Earth will take care of itself, it will do this by killing off the problem which is humans. Unfortunately like any disease other healthy organisms will die too but in the end long after humans and lots of other species are gone earth will be healthy and start again.

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Response to jgmiller (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 05:57 PM

6. As George Carlin said:

"The planet is just fine. WE'RE fucked".

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Response to jgmiller (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 07:12 PM

8. I wonder.

Whether post-human intelligent species will figure out how to not screw things up by studying our fossils?

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 07:21 PM

10. The irony.

The future leader of the World will be a tiny-handed mushroom.

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Response to snort (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 07:33 PM

11. Or a cockroach in a suit. nt

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Response to bronxiteforever (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2018, 07:07 PM

7. The world's wild land animal biomass is down about 95% since humans arrivedl



According to WWF, wild animal numbers have declined by more than half since 1970.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/29/earth-lost-50-wildlife-in-40-years-wwf

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