Holding on to our insects


Sir, – The disturbing news of an accelerating collapse in global insect populations may, despite its ominous implications, have a silver lining in that it may finally be the tipping point needed to provoke a global review of how we are exploiting the planet (“Insect extinction threatens catastrophic collapse’ of ecosystems”, News, February 11th).

Years of warnings, and more recently the increased frequency of extreme weather, have so far proved ineffective in this regard.

However, this latest news is potentially more stark than anything that has come before. It seems to indicate that it is not only the climate that we are impacting. We seem to be causing a breakdown in the broader processes in nature and ultimately in the ability of the Earth to support life.

Such is the impact of intensive farming and pesticides that vast areas of the globe are becoming sterile monuments to modern agriculture.

It certainly brings a different perspective to the debate around GM foods.

A strong argument could to be made for the controlled roll-out of GM crops to remove the need for pesticides as there is far too much collateral damage from their use. Freely available GM seeds, provided to farmers by governments and not bound to corporates, may quickly help remediate the damage already done by pesticides and intensive farming.

This and a longer-term strategy towards more sustainable methods are urgently required to avert what looks like a catastrophic disaster.

Unfortunately both the current global trend towards isolationist nationalism and the existing economic model are not helpful.

Our predicament requires a massive collaborative effort and a rethink on the growth obsession which is driving unsustainable consumerism. The hope lies in looking at what can be done when we work together such as was achieved in the banning of CFCs. – Yours, etc,


Blackrock, Cork.

Sir, – Our hedgerows are our rainforests. Yet we allow our farmers and councils destroy them, flail them and reduce them to stumps.

Our politicians make this easier and easier to the point now where they have little protection.

As we allow this, we allow the shelter, food supply and habitat they offer to insects to be destroyed. We cut or spray our roadside verges, our rivers and banks, and we have now started to remove the shrubberies from our city and town parks. It seems we all feel a duty to keep the green places down or to remove them altogether.

Few seem worried about this or issue a plea for a stop to this madness. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.