The pesticide industry’s playbook for poisoning the Earth

Illustration of a swarm of pollinators.

(The Intercept) Lobbying documents and emails obtained by The Intercept show a vast strategy by the pesticide industry to influence academics, beekeepers, and regulators, and to divert attention away from the potential harm caused by neonicotinoids. As a result, the global neonics industry generated $4.42 billion in 2018. In the meantime, the effects are being seen in massive insect die-offs. Certain insects are nearing extinction.

Urgent new ‘roadmap to recovery’ could reverse insect apocalypse

Image of moth on thistle.

(The Guardian) The call to action by more than 70 scientists from across the planet advocates immediate “no-regret” actions on human stress factors to insects which include habitat loss and fragmentation, the climate crisis, pollution, over-harvesting and invasive species. The paper comes amid repeated warnings about the threat of human-driven insect extinction causing a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, with more than 40 percent of insect species declining and a third endangered.

Leaf blowers fatal to declining insects, Germans warned

Image of person blowing leaves.

(BBC) Germany’s Ministry for the Environment said leaf blowers were too loud, polluted the air and posed a fatal threat to insects. The ministry issued the guidance in response to a request by a Green MP. Leaf blowers should not be used unless they are “indispensable”, the ministry said. However, the ministry said it was not planning to ban the devices.

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants

Image of Burnet moth on non-native flower.

(University of York) Researchers at the University of York discovered that foreign plants – often found in gardens and parks – were supporting communities of British insects, including pollinators. For example, solitary bees were found visiting the flowers of non-native agave-leaved sea holly plants. Not surprisingly, however, the greatest numbers and diversity of insects were typically found on native plant species. “It is important to ensure that at least a third of plants are native, as the research suggests that these plants provide the best home for most insects. However, the presence of some non-native plants may help provide a home for unusual or rare British insects that may be struggling to find a home on our native plants.”

Light pollution is key “bringer of insect apocalypse”

Image of insects swarming around light at night.

(The Guardian) “We strongly believe artificial light at night – in combination with habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasive species, and climate change – is driving insect declines,” the scientists concluded after assessing more than 150 studies. However, unlike other drivers of decline, light pollution is relatively easy to prevent by switching off unnecessary lights and using proper shades.