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Science: We Are On Course for 'Armageddon'

ICYMI: The insects are dying and we're all going to die.
(Image via Flickr/Neta Bartal)

Suppose the one lie they always told us was the apocalypse would come all at once, overnight, in one great swell, and by the time it hit us we wouldn't have time to do much about it but die, stare at the orange sky as it burns out above us, maybe tap out one final text to our parents, our partners, holding tight onto our dogs. "I… love… you…" we all say, holding the tiny remnants of what is dear to us tight against our chests as The End comes and explodes us all to atoms. The agony is fleeting but intense. And then there is nothing but the dark.


Anyway that is at this point is what's known in the game as "the best case scenario".

To Germany, now, where all the insects are dying. A 27-year study has found flying insect biomass in nature reserves across Germany is down 76 percent, with an 82 percent decline over mid-summer, when insects should be flying at their peak. Researchers used huge tent-like nets called malaise traps[1] to collect samples of the insects flying over 63 separate nature reserves, with the total weight of each sample tent-net thing showing the overall decline. Annual averages were the ones falling 76 percent, while mid-summer supposed insect peaks saw the most drastic drop off in weight. Also note this decline was from samples taken in protected areas and nature reserves, i.e. the absolute best place for insects to thrive, making the news all the more worrying.

"We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon."

It is hard to care about insects, I know. They are small lively dots that ruin your picnics. I know this. You know this. It is hard to get a hard on for declining insect weight, starting in 1989, in Germany. "Ah, but insects are vital to a thriving ecosystem, they are great pollinato—" nobody cares. "Ah, but the insects, they are food for the other animals, without them the entire food chain will colla—" bore off, mate. Nobody cares about insects, exactly. But check out these fucking scientist quotes about the research from the Guardian, though:


"Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline. We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse."

— Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University, who just used the words "ecological Armageddon" and "collapse" in the same three sentence paragraph, we are definitely dying, we are definitely going to die

"The fact that the number of flying insects is decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery."

— Hans de Kroon, Radboud University, lead researcher and doomsayer, we have not even got onto the non-flying insects yet, when those fuckers go we all die

"All these areas are protected and most of them are well-managed nature reserves. Yet, this dramatic decline has occurred."

— That's Casper Hallmann from Radboud University basically saying that these insects have it fucking made and they are still disappearing, what is happening to the insects flying around in non-protected areas, over non-parks and countrysides, what about them, what about them?

Here are two scientists who have been looking at insects as part of a 27-year study and still can't really, actually figure out why they are dying or disappearing:

"The weather might explain many of the fluctuations within the season and between the years, but it doesn't explain the rapid downward trend."


— Martin Sorg, Krefeld Entomological Society

"Farmland has very little to offer for any wild creature. But exactly what is causing their death is open to debate. It could be simply that there is no food for them or it could be, more specifically, exposure to chemical pesticides, or a combination of the two."

— Big Dave Goulson, again, bringing that bad news, again

How is all this going to immediately impact upon your life, apart from that next time you have a post-11PM conversation with a stoner, they are going to tell you all this, in juddering detail, their eyes glazing over and your eyes too, "flying insects are ecologically vital", some lad who used to be in your Art class is saying, "they pollinate flowers and they are food for larger animals, once they start going the dominos start collapsing, mate, once all the bees have died then we shall die too", why is it the stoners are always the prophets, if the warnings of imminent death came from anyone other than lads in woven hoodies we'd actually listen? Well, I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but all the flies and moths and wasps in Germany are dying so maybe it is time to, like

Take up smoking again, or

Like get back in touch with The One That Got Away, the one that haunts you, still, every day you live your life thinking, "what if?", you know, like "what if?", you think about the alternate timeline that severed when you guys stopped talking, the alternate future where you were happy and content, maybe you could take one last spin at reigniting it, or


Reconnect with your father, or

Fuck it, man, buy that new laptop you want, you'll never live to pay off the loan, just enjoy it while you can, or

Fly to Goa, you've always wanted to see Goa, see Goa before the weight of dead insects drags it into the sea, or

Go back and get that Masters you always wanted, I suppose, or

The sky is orange and the sea is on fire and the four horsemen are galloping around the flaming streets laughing, at us and at the chaos and the debris, and we can't see it, we can't see it, so we just live our lives as we live our lives, now, no urgency of doom. The insects are dying, man! Apocalypse is coming! Get out there and live!


[1] Perhaps they should put you in one of these, mate! Catch all that malaise! Ha. No I know the world is ending but we can still have a lau—