Sum It Up Sunday - Does This Bug You?
I know how cute this picture of my pal Olive wearing her butterfly wings is. What isn’t so cute is that butterflies and other insects are in a drastic decline all over the world.
There are many studies and stories that highlight this alarming trend. The New York Times article from November 2018 states it best:
“Insects are the vital pollinators and recyclers of ecosystems and the base of food webs everywhere. (Scientists are)… not alone in noticing their decline. In the United States, scientists recently found the population of monarch butterflies fell by 90 percent in the last 20 years, a loss of 900 million individuals; the rusty-patched bumblebee, which once lived in 28 states, dropped by 87 percent over the same period. With other, less-studied insect species, one butterfly researcher told me, “all we can do is wave our arms and say, ‘It’s not here anymore!’ ” Still, the most disquieting thing wasn’t the disappearance of certain species of insects; it was the deeper worry, shared by…many…, that a whole insect world might be quietly going missing, a loss of abundance that could alter the planet in unknowable ways.”
As I drive around the country, I notice that my windshield isn’t covered by bugs as it once was. Though that inconvenience seems to have been removed, what has really been taken away is balance. Nature relies on balance. It is the very thing that made this world. You may be one of the many millions of folks who have seen the YouTube video showing how the wolves changed the rivers in Yellowstone Park- a truly inspiring example of a trophic cascade.
Trophic cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems, occurring when a trophic level in a food web is suppressed.
You suppress the bugs, you then suppress the birds, and on and on it goes up the food chain. We are at the top of that chain. Plants, animals, and us. We are all connected.
Does this all bug you? It does me.
Let me know here in the comments if you’ve noticed declining populations of bugs, birds and other flora and fauna where you are.