Sounding the alarm over insect decline


A chara, – A recent report from Germany on the depletion of insects should have resounded through Ireland. Instead, the response was deafening. What is almost certainly an alarm which must not be ignored has received scant attention.

The evidence, gathered over 25 years (and reported in the journal Plos One), is of a decline in total insect population of approximately 80 per cent, is compelling; the persistence of the decline will see all insects eliminated in Germany within five years. 2022, no more pollination by insects, no more bees, no more blackbirds, or trout.

Homo sapiens indeed. In Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Noah Yerval Harari traces, repeatedly and in different locations on earth, the co-relation between the arrival of man and the extinction of species.

It’s not that insecticides and weedkillers should be banned; the very mentality that supports the production, sale and application of these noxious chemicals must be challenged. Before we have recourse to “crimes against humanity” and the full application of the law, which should happen, we must, now, immediately, take action to ensure that no more insects are killed, no more so-called “weeds” are poisoned or lost.

Chemicals are sold on the basis of “return on investment”, typically touted as four-to-one, with a 10 per cent increase in land productivity. Let’s accept this as fact, (which it probably isn’t) and pay all farmers 10 per cent more if they forgo chemicals (think of the money they’ll save!). We can make it 20 per cent if all farmers in, say, a county, agree to cease poisoning the land and its lesser inhabitants.

The alternative is the public ownership of all farmland. By 2019. No later. For the chemical producers, the game is up. For us too, if we don’t act decisively. – Is mise,


Conservation Architect,

College Lecturer,

UCD, Dublin 4.