COMMENTARY

Where are the bugs, and why are they missing?
Reader says scientists must look at the big picture to avert massive losses.

Posted October 12, 2006

 

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NF


Although I am no farmer and live in urban southern Ontario on the shores of Lake Ontario, I pay close attention to what is going on in the natural world—and what is not going on.

When was the last time any of you needed a bug screen on your vehicles? Or a bug sponge to clean your windshield?

For me it has been many years. But those of you who are old enough know that our native insect life was far more numerous in years gone by.

I believe the pollution of our air is the reason for this. We are used to thinking that insects adapt quickly to changing conditions. Cockroaches certainly do. But what if not all insects have the genetic resilience of cockroaches? A solvent molecule is not a big deal to an elephant possibly, but to a mayfly, that molecule is a much bigger object that has a much more serious impact.

There was a time when the mayfly hatch was so prolific, that mayflies blanketed buildings and roads over wide areas. That has not happened in decades.

As a society I believe we give the word of specialists too much weight on some issues and not enough on others. What I'm looking for is a balanced consensus that views this current issue from a historical perspective.

Your article Unseen Treasure Part 2 reminded me of this when it stated: “…much of the data recorded is functionally lost due to more conventionally minded reviewers who have no basis for appreciating the profound role of biologically based organic practices on crop productivity.”

That is a huge problem. Most of the professionals working in the natural sciences today haven’t the faintest clue what is natural and what isn’t. Someone has to start waking people up to the fact that we are on the verge of some very critical extinctions that will profoundly affect the ability of higher order life forms to exist, never mind thrive.

John Newell
Pickering, Ontario