On the Verge were delighted to welcome Dave Goulson to Seaford this week. He gave a fascinating talk about insects, more specifically “Averting the Insect Apocalypse”, as covered in his new book!
It really was a wonderful talk, and we learnt more about how long insects had been on earth (400 million years!) and the staggering diversity of insects on earth (a million different species including 300,000 species of beetle alone!) Dave showed us some extraordinary and beautiful examples, and we can find some of these right on our door step!
Insects are not just interesting but essential to life as we know it. They pollinate ¾ of the crops we grow, control pests (though some are also pests!), recycle all sorts of organic materials, keep the soil healthy, and are a vital source of food for birds, fish and other creatures.
It was depressing to hear just how much insect populations have declined through the world over our lifetimes. Worryingly there are gaps in the data as many species, and locations are not carefully monitored. The extensive use of pesticides in agriculture and our gardens and the plants we buy, has undoubtedly played a part in this shocking decline.
The more encouraging news is that we can all help to reverse this catastrophic decline. We can help the populations of insects start to recover. Apparently, a gardener of a small plot in Leicester carefully recorded 2673 species of wildlife over 35 years – 1997 of these were types of insects!
There are steps we can take to encourage insects, by providing food, shelter and space. Even a small garden can be a haven for insects, and consequently for other wildlife. If we don’t have a garden, we can join local groups to improve biodiversity in our green spaces. Leaving grass in verges and parks to grow longer, and banning pesticides in our towns, will all help insect populations to recover.
Thanks so much to Dave for coming out to see us. We thoroughly recommend his excellent books (he sold out on the night!). We think he was right though, he was mostly “preaching to the converted”. It’s so important that we change the minds of those who may just see insects as a nuisance or a threat! We would love to hear your ideas on how we could do this.
If you would like to help “On the Verge” to reverse the decline of insects in Seaford, and change hearts and minds, please do get in touch.
If you are planning an event in Seaford, we can now lend equipment including insect and other spotting guides, magnifiers, and surveying equipment (funded by the “Ouse Valley Climate Action” lottery fund).
Please get in touch to find out more.