Come with me to 2085 to the end of the world as we know it.
My name is Graeme Codrington, this is Throw Forward Thursday and we are in our end of series.
I want to talk today about the end of insects. I mentioned a moment ago that it’s the end of everything and that will be the case if we run out of insects. If all the insects in the world disappear, well, that will be the end of the world as we know it, and certainly the end of the plants that we eat and the world biosphere as we know it.
Insects are absolutely essential to that and they are disappearing at an alarming rate. A recent set of papers put out by Nature and I’ll link to these in the show notes gave amazing detail of studies done all around the world on the fact that insect populations are reducing by between 1% and 2% every year at the moment. And that means that within a few decades they could would be tragic loss of entire insect populations. It really is a crisis point. The simplest way to think about this is if you remember as a child going on long haul drives with your family from one city to another on holiday.
You often needed to stop regularly, not just to fill up with petrol and gas in your car, but to clean the windscreen. There were so many insects on the windscreen, we just don’t see that anymore. There are a few insects that are not being affected but generally the scientists are very worried about this situation. So what can we do? That’s part of what we’re trying to do in this end of series.
It’s not just throw our hands up and go oh no, the future is a disaster. But to say what can we do in response to that? And what we do need to do is change our view of insects. A few of them might be creepy crawlies that you don’t really like and you wouldn’t want them flying around and settling on your skin or your hair, but we need to recognise the value of insects in the biosphere. Kind of change our attitude towards them, if you like.
Secondly, we need to make sure that our gardens and green spaces in our cities and all around our world are insect friendly. Probably means getting rid of some of our lawns, some of our grass areas, replacing them more with wild flowers and natural or indigenous plants. We need to do the same with many areas out in the remote areas and in farming areas, leaving wild spaces for insects. We can also switch off unnecessary lights at night. Insects are attracted to lights at night time and these typically become traps and sort of fry them, if you like.
And we can make sure that we don’t do that, give insects at nighttime as well. I think birds too would appreciate that. And then finally we can support scientists who are looking at a variety of different ways to protect our insect population. Keep informed about it and make sure you get involved in any way that you can to ensure that insects in your environment find a really nice home. Not a home filled with pesticides and poisons trying to get rid of them, but an environment in which insects can flourish, thrive and continue to help.
Give us the world that we want to live in, a world full of plants that we can enjoy and eat and continue to live with. The end of insects? Let’s hope not, because the end of insects would be the end of us. Hope you’re enjoying this end of series.
Don’t forget that you can contribute by going to askaboutthefuture.com and give me some suggestions of what you would like me to cover in this end of series.
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I’ll see you next week week when we talk about the end of something else.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.