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Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature' (theguardian.com)
105 points by robin_reala 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

We have to change how we grow food. Endless monocrops of corn and soy – much of it grown for animals in industrial feedlots – totally void of biodiversity. Without competition, well-adapted bugs can wipe out entire crops. Hence, the ever-escalating war of farmer vs bugs, fields drenched in pesticides.

There are alternatives: Agroforestry, silvopasture, permaculture. Diverse agricultural systems that lean on natural processes. It would mean a diet of more plants, less animals. But frankly, meat is far too cheap. None of the externalities are priced in.

I stopped eating meat years ago, but still eat fish on occasion. I would rather pay $100 for sushi, than live in a world with no fish.

We badly need to move towards more sustainable farming practises. Pesticides are not the only problem, topsoil erosion is another. The question is: how do we create incentives for farmers to improve their practices in the race-to-the-bottom food economy?

For the vast majority of people, living in a world without fish and sushi costing $100 are functionally equivalent.

No, not eating fish, and sushi costing $100, are functionally equivalent for them. The worlds are vastly different.

What’s your point?

Most people will never pay $100 for sushi.

That's the point the OP was making. He is fine with paying 100$ for sushi (or not eating sushi) if it means there are fish left in the oceans.

It's not hard to imagine tobacco like lawsuits in the next decade or so that may well uncover how the likes of monsanto/bayer et al knew and hid that their products were killing too broadly, but that it was too costly to care.

I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised...And I hope it destroys them.

What stood out to me in this article is that the biomass of insects is decreasing by 2.5% per year. Exponential decay adds up quickly and we can see significant losses over relatively small time frames. We're looking at the loss of around 22% of insect biomass in 10 years

The planet is going to be soon full of 9 billion humans, many desperately hungry and thirsty.

Africa and West Asia is the sole source of this increase. We need an urgent program to strip away food aid and replace it completely with education for women, family planning, and incentives for sterilisation and not having any or only one child.

Additionally the West needs to disallow all immigration and refugee settlement from poor countries. We should not provide a pressure release valve for overpopulation, nor harvest the few human resources that would otherwise help develop and modernise these countries.

I would rather have millions of insect, plant and animal species still alive than billions of excess humans clinging to life via destructive subsistence agriculture.

As child mortality drops, so do birth rates. The effect just lags a bit as people change their behaviour. Healthy secure people will have less babies, because they don't need to have so many.

Letting a small number of people die of hunger is not going to change that equation. In fact it may have the opposite effect.

And food aid is a small minority of all aid. Long term programs to build local capability are already the vast majority of money spent.

If this was the case then populations wouldn't be expanding - too many people would be dying before reaching reproductive age.

Its simpler than that. Women in many parts of the world have no agency, and no access to contraception. Change those two things (this should be the REAL battle of feminists) and you will go a long way to solving overpopulation.

This is authoritarian might makes right nonsense. It's incompatible with the UN Charter, national and individual self-determination, and the world's religions.

Before global trade, wealthy countries became wealthy through population growth. Today most every wealthy country has low or negative native birth rates, depending on immigration to shore up their economy. Japan's lost decade is an example of negative birth rates along with no immigration.

Japan is interesting though because society hasn’t collapsed, people there still have a high quality of life. The main issue they seem to have is the government took on too much debt. Whether that is a problem is questionable because most of it is held by the Japanese.

Most of Japan's debt is actually owned by its citizens iirc.

That’s what I said.

The problem with that estimate is they assume the birth rate won't change. Given how it has decreased in developed countries, a similar decrease should be expected as education levels for women increase in the developing world.


Hey dwd, your link suggests that fertility rate is indeed on the decline to around 2 children per woman, whereas it's higher that currently, especially in less developed parts of the world. That doesn't contradict the video by Hans Roslin, does it? The video doesn't mention birth rate as such, but he does mention that the number of children is not expected to change. I know from his other presentations that he does (did) indeed expect the fertility rate to fall to a little more than 2, as it does in every developed country.

The review in question says it's mainly habitat loss caused by conversion to intensive agriculture [1].

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S00063...

One thing might be to mandate pesticides that degrade fairly quickly after use, so they don't run off the fields into waterways, etc.

Also simply ban the worst of them, like DDT.

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