Insect populations definitely matter! Insects are in decline across the world due to a range of human-induced factors, such as habitat loss and climate change, all driven by human population growth. Join our first HUMANATURE campaign initiative, Insect Populations Matter, and do your bit to protect these tiny creatures we all depend on. Read more below and get involved!
Insects are crucial for all life on Earth. Without insects, food webs collapse and ecosystems fail, threatening the existence of all other species, including us humans. So getting involved in protecting them and helping to boost their numbers could not be more important.
‘’We just have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round... Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become more scarce, our world will slowly grind to a halt, for it cannot function without them.’’
Professor David Goulson, Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse
Comprising two-thirds of all life on Earth, with a great many species yet to be identified by science, insects do so much for us humans, other wildlife and the environment.
When was the last time you drove at night between the spring and autumn and ended up with a windscreen covered in bugs? Probably not for quite a while. Alarmingly, it’s a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly rare.
Recent studies paint a grim picture of the decline of insects. In 2019, a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe was published. It stated that over 40% of insect species are threatened with extinction. And in 2021, twelve studies on global insect decline were published, which referred to an "insect apocalypse’’. One of these papers spelled out what's needed to protect insects and the rest of nature:
"a stable (and almost certainly lower) human population, sustainable levels of consumption, and social justice that empowers the less wealthy people and nations of the world, where the vast majority of us live.’’
The destruction of wild habitats, especially tropical forests, for agricultural expansion is a key human-caused driver of insect decline. The extensive use of insecticides and pesticides is killing insects and poisoning their habitats on land and in water. Meanwhile, climate change, habitat fragmentation, pollution, urbanisation and light pollution are also factors driving the crisis.
To safeguard insect populations, and in turn all life on Earth, we must all be involved in changing our destructive ways and living in harmony with nature; and we must ultimately slow and end human population growth – a key driver of our impacts on the planet.
There are many things we have to do to protect our crucial insect populations - on a global scale – but what better place to start than at a local level, doing what we can as individuals, families and communities!
These ten suggestions include something for everyone – those with gardens, those with balconies, those with a hanging basket, and those who have none of the above. And if you are doing some of these already, why not try out a new idea from the list?
If we all act together, and inspire others to join in, we can make a huge difference for insects!
We’d love to hear about your activities for insects. Send us a photo and/or a brief explanation of what you’ve been up to, and we can feature it on this page.
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