Alarming Study Finds That Insects Could Go Extinct Very Soon With Disastrous Results
Getty Images

Insect apocalypse?


That's the phrase buzzing around the internet since the first global scientific review of insect population decline was published this week in the journal Biological Conservation.

Insects are superlative and have a crucial role in food webs and ecosystems. But they're dying out quite fast.

According to the study's authors:

"The pace of modern insect extinctions surpasses that of vertebrates by a large margin.

We estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline ... to be twice as high as that of vertebrates, and the pace of local species extinction ... eight times higher. It is evident that we are witnessing the largest [insect] extinction event on Earth since the late Permian and Cretaceous periods."

Overall, 40 percent of insect species on the planet are declining. Another third are considered endangered. The review's authors concluded that the total mass of insects worldwide is declining by 2.5 percent annually.

"It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none," study co-author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, an environmental biologist at the University of Sydney, Australia, told The Guardian. "If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind."

Habitat loss is largely responsible for the decline in insect populations. Pesticides, climate change, and invasive species all play a significant role in hastening the decline, too.

"Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades," the review's co-authors wrote. "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least."

The researchers note:

The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least, as insects are at the structural and functional base of many of the world's ecosystems since their rise at the end of the Devonian period, almost 400 million years ago.

People responded with alarm:



The study is imperfect, however. Scientists do not know how many species of insect exist and lack adequate population data for all of them. Much of the data also comes from "developed" countries like the United States and those in Europe. The study lacks information from tropical regions, which are areas where new species of insect keep being discovered.

As a result, people like scientist and researcher Christian Schwägerl responded with skepticism.



The Guardian, the first publication to report the news, later posted a grave warning from its editorial board that serves as an indictment against what they refer to as "unchecked human greed":

The chief driver of this catastrophe is unchecked human greed. For all our individual and even collective cleverness, we behave as a species with as little foresight as a colony of nematode worms that will consume everything it can reach until all is gone and it dies off naturally. The challenge of behaving more intelligently than creatures that have no brain at all will not be easy. But unlike the nematodes, we know what to do. The UN convention on biodiversity was signed in 1992, alongside the convention on climate change. Giving it the strength to curb our appetites is now urgent. Biodiversity is not an optional extra. It is the web that holds all life, including human life.

The clock is ticking.

People Divulge The Scariest Thing That's Ever Happened To Them
Photo by Josh Nuttall on Unsplash

All of us have fears which some might call irrational.

Up to and including ghosts, witches, monsters.

But more often than not, reality can be far scarier than the supernatural.

And there are very few people indeed who don't have a memory of a moment when they were truly and genuinely scared.

And not by an otherworldly encounter, but by things that could quite literally happen to anyone.

Redditor GodhimselfUwU was curious to hear the scariest experiences people have lived through, leading them to ask:

"What’s the scariest non-supernatural thing that ever happened to you?"
Keep reading... Show less

Having to work for a living is hard work.

Some jobs come with difficulty and two extra sides of stress.

So the last thing people need is unwarranted hate.

I'm so glad I work from home. Writing alone.

I have issues with me, but that I can deal with.

I do hate internet issues.

But that is warranted.

Redditor PM_ME_URFOOD wanted to talk about the jobs where a ridiculous amount of vitriol is all part of a days work. They asked:

"What profession gets an unjustified amount of hate?"
Keep reading... Show less
People Explain Which Items In Life Should Always Be Free
Photo by Levi Ventura on Unsplash

Short of having a shopping addiction, no one actually likes spending money on stuff.

Why would you ever willingly give it away? It's your money!

Which might be why it feels so bad when you have to spend money of something that should be free from the beginning. People/ corporations are going to chase that cheddar, though, so there's little you can do besides complain, which frankly might be the best thing the internet is for.

Keep reading... Show less
Women Share The Biggest Downsides To Having Breasts
Chichi Onyekanne/Unsplash

The worst part of having breasts is Florida.

I didn't even say large breasts. Just breasts, any breasts. Florida and breasts are mortal enemies sworn to battle one another into oblivion until the end of days.

Keep reading... Show less