Whilst watching a TED talks recently, I heard this quote;
‘If all insects on Earth disappeared, within 50 years life on Earth would end. If all humans disappeared from the Earth , within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.’ (Jonas Salk)
This is a devastating thing to hear and starkly illustrates the effect we as a species are having on the world. I feel a need to tell everyone I know about this quote as it gives a much needed injection of realism to our complacency.Closely linked to the concept of the bee, I decided I could develop the meaning behind this quote further, incorporating it into my work to try and demonstrate its significance to us all.
I decided to delve a little deeper into the importance of insects to fully understand what we stand to loose. There are three times the amount of bugs to all the animals on the earth, 1.5 million species have been named but this is only a tiny fraction, there are still so many left to discover. Insects can be found in almost any habitat as they come in such huge varieties and have evolved to withstand even the most desolate and forbidding terrains. We would not enjoy many of the foods that we do today if insects were not around, as they are the main pollinators. We would loose a great array of our flowers, fruits and vegetables as well as silk, beeswax, honey and other produce insects provide. Insects are omnivores which means they eat a huge variety of things including plants, fungi and dead animals. As a result they play a significant role in the decomposition of waste and in releasing nutrients back into the ground.
Many insects are predatory and parasitic, but in a positive way as this means they regulate numbers of other insects, plants and animals we consider as pests. They are also a very important food source for a wide range of creatures, who without insects to eat may well become extinct. The food chain is a precariously and delicately balanced system, which can be irreparably damaged by small changes.
We are currently causing so much change, that it is thought in the last few centuries, we have begun the sixth phase of extinction on Earth. All this research further convinces me that I would like my piece to allude to this catastrophe without making it too obvious, to enable the viewer space and opportunity to think through the implications for themselves.