Insect Apocalypse: As Urgent as Climate Change

The Great Death of Insects

DW (2020)

Film Review

This documentary examines research into techniques for halting the decline in insect populations. Entomologists (insect specialists) warn that insect species have declined by 80% since 1800. They blame the loss of habitat due to urbanization, industrialized agriculture, excessive pesticide use and light pollution.*

Many scientists consider the insect apocalypse as urgent as climate change – given the key role insect pollinators play in most of our food crops. There is also growing evidence that the fall in insect numbers is the main cause of declining bird populations.

German scientists are collaborating with local farmers to rebuild insect habitat by creating strategically placed meadows and wildlife corridors on their farms.

The film’s only major drawback is its flawed assumption that crop yields must be sacrificed (by converting industrial monoculture deserts into forests and meadows) to restore dwindling insect populations. Three decades of research reveal that intensive permaculture methods (involving simultaneous cultivation of multiple crop species) produce far higher yields (measured in calories per acre) than monoculture agriculture.

Not only is soil fertility maintained this way (plowing kills soil microorganisms that are essential maximum to plant nutrition, but it preserves key insect predators – reducing (and eventually eliminating in many cases) the need for synthetic pesticides

*Half of all insect species are nocturnal and are “vacuumed” out of the ecosystem by their fatal attraction to bright lights.