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Save The Insects, Save The Farmers, Save Ourselves: New Global Report Calls For End Of Industrial Agriculture

Posted by on June 13, 2020 in Environment, Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments

Image Credit: Waking Times

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

A new report released Tuesday draws attention to the worldwide decline in insects and calls for global policies to boost the conservation of both agriculture and the six-footed creatures.


The publication, entitled Insect Atlas, comes from two progressive networks: Brussels-based Friends of the Earth and Berlin-based Heinrich Böll Foundation.

“The global loss of insects is dramatic,” Heinrich Böll Foundation president Barbara Unmüßig said in a statement.

 

The report points to various studies documenting that loss, including 2018 research finding 41% of insect species are in decline and that one-third of all insect species are threatened by extinction. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) estimated that 10 percent of insect species are endangered, and another study cited in the new analysis found that at least one in 10 bee and butterfly species in Europe is threatened with extinction.

While there’s no definitive count of the global loss of insects, Insect Atlas says the trend is unmistakable.

That decline has major impacts on food.


“Three-quarters of the world’s most important crops exhibit a yield benefit from pollinators: they contribute directly to around one-third of global food production,” says the report.

The methods used for that production have a huge impact on insects.

“Alongside climate change and light pollution, the spread and intensification of farming is by far the most important cause of the global decline in insect numbers,” the report adds.

This type of farming is dependent upon expanding pasture—often at the expense of destroying Indigenous land and wild animal habitat—and prioritizes monocultures and therefore insect-killing pesticides, the use of which has steadily increased for the past nine decades, the economic profits of which are predominantly flowing towards just four entities:  BASF, Bayer, Syngenta, and Corteva. From the publication:

What is more, the number of chemical products in use around the world continues to increase. And, their negative effects on the insect world are also becoming more and more evident. This is not just because a growing number of chemicals are being applied; the formulations are also increasingly effective and can be used more selectively

Even when some nations ban certain pesticides over concerns, the chemicals’ adverse impacts don’t disappear; they just change locations.

The developed world is waking up to the risks associated with the use of pesticides. The situation is different in the developing world: chemicals that are banned in Europe and North America are still used routinely to control pests. Stricter controls are needed, along with better information for farmers.

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