Sunday, December 02, 2018

Killing me slowly ...

For the past couple of months, yours truly has tried to focus on the essential terrestrial organisms that, if eliminated from the environment, would cause environmental collapse. With this in mind, insects are prime candidates as they inhabit every continent (including Antarctica's Belgica antarctica, the Antarctic midge) and are intimately involved with all aspects of life on this planet as we know it. Note: We haven't even talked about the sea and land-based microfauna and flora, the baseline lifeforms on which all life on this planet depends. Note II: The oceans are not part of this blurb although it too is under the same amount of manmade stress as well.

Because insects are legion, inconspicuous and hard to meaningfully track, the fear that there might be far fewer than before was more felt than documented. People noticed it by canals or in backyards or under streetlights at night — familiar places that had become unfamiliarly empty. The feeling was so common that entomologists developed a shorthand for it, named for the way many people first began to notice that they weren’t seeing as many bugs. They called it the windshield phenomenon.

When the investigators began planning the study in 2016, they weren’t sure if anyone would sign up. But by the time the nets were ready, a paper by an obscure German entomological society had brought the problem of insect decline into sharp focus. The German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. If you looked at midsummer population peaks, the drop was 82 percent.

Let's think about this while reading Bill McKibben's  in-depth New Yorker article stating the fact earth, in terms of arable use, is shrinking every day due to GW, environmental degradation and resource depletion.

The poorest and most vulnerable will pay the highest price. But already, even in the most affluent areas, many of us hesitate to walk across a grassy meadow because of the proliferation of ticks bearing Lyme disease which have come with the hot weather; we have found ourselves unable to swim off beaches, because jellyfish, which thrive as warming seas kill off other marine life, have taken over the water. The planet’s diameter will remain eight thousand miles, and its surface will still cover two hundred million square miles. But the earth, for humans, has begun to shrink, under our feet and in our minds.

The Anthropocene is gathering speed as we speak.

Killing me slowly indeed.

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