A Trip to the University of Maine Gardens

Insects are getting harder to find, except those that bite us and get into our food supplies.

Silver-spotted Skipper

A walk through the gardens this morning did not reveal as many insects as I would have liked. Insects are just getting harder to find, except those that bite us and get into our food supplies. As for the rest, we are destroying their habitat and food sources with farming and pesticides use. Like them or not, they are a vital element to our biosphere. Evolution says so.

Meanwhile, temperatures and humidity are on the rise today, ushering in our first heat wave, beginning tomorrow. Europe and South Asia are baking as I write this. London is forecast to hit 104o F soon?!

You will find more of today’s photos with the first seven photos at my on-line gallery.

Insectorama (Season 4: World Dominion)

As I have previously noted, insects are in decline (except for those that bite and get into our food supplies). Few have the guts to splatter themselves on our windshields as we drive the highways during dusk hours.

Assassin Bug

Yes, dear readers, I know you have all been awaiting this season’s Insectorama, where I show off all those cute little bugs. If I have not said it before, nature photography is risky. Not only do I have to be careful about falling on rocky ledges or falling over cliffs, but I often confront dangerous wildlife. Take this Assassin Bug in the above photo, for example. Look at those saw-tooth arms, much like those of the praying mantis. I was lucky not to be on its hit list!

As I have previously noted, insects are in decline (except for those that bite and get into our food supplies). Few have the guts to splatter themselves on our windshields as we drive the highways during dusk hours. I can remember when it was so bad that we used the windshield washer/wipers to clear their remains so we could better see the road! But if you think, who needs that, just know that insects are fodder for reptiles, birds and bats. Insects are disappearing due to our use of pesticides and clearing of their habitats. People, especially those in the major industrialized nations, are doing just about everything possible to destroy the biosphere on which all life depends.

Do you have any interesting insect stories? If so, I would love to hear them. And if you you would like to see more of season 4, take a look at the first ten photos at my on-line gallery. More insects to come!

Insectorama: Season 3

I went out recently to Mill Brook Preserve looking for insects to photograph. Unfortunately, aside from biting bugs and other pests, insects are getting harder to find. I only found two, shown below. This is due in major part to climate change, though habitat loss and pesticide use are secondary factors. The sixth extinction includes the insect apocalypse. You don’t believe me? Read more here.

However, given that southern Maine has set a new record for the rainiest July, mushrooms abounded. You can find some cool photos at Mushroomarama.

Insects, you gotta love’em, kinda.

Will the World Go the Way of Easter Island?

Grinnell Glacier Overlook: 1920

 

Public domaine, USGS Grinnell Glacier Overlook: 2013

 

 


There are two theories about the decline of the Easter Island native people. The first is ecocide. They cut down or burned all the trees for farmland and moving the statues they built, thus collapsing their ecosystem. The second being, success, they learned to accept less since rats, inadvertently brought to the island on the original explorers’ canoes, thrived by eating the seeds and seedlings of the island’s trees. As a result, human population declined, but the remaining people survived by eating the rats and fewer vegetables. They were adaptive. Wow, such success!

Fast forward to today and our global ecosystem faces a similar risk. As just one example, a scientific publication, reported in the The Guardian, found a 29% decline in bird populations since 1970. Perhaps this is partially due to the insect apocalypse. Hello, is anybody out there? And just as the Easter Islanders could have saved their ecosystem, regardless of which theory is true, they simply accepted their worsening new “normals.” Not us you say? Well, today the United Nations Climate Action Summit is meeting and the president of the United States is elsewhere pandering to his base. Instead, we have a teenager, Greta Thunberg, addressing the body with stern remarks, She castigated world leaders about doing little to alleviate fossil fuel emissions. Then there is the world climate strike, again with youth at the forefront, taking place around the globe.

Unfortunately for us, it very much looks like humanity will accept and adapt to dramatic population decline and scraping by with less. As I have discussed elsewhere, humanity will indeed have to adapt to less, much less. However, if we were to act now we could minimize the effects of climate change, even though these will worsen. But this is unlikely. Shaming adults will have only minimal effects on industrial production.  China and India, among other countries, continue burning coal. Auto and aircraft emissions, while cleaner than in the past, are on the rise, due to larger vehicles and increased traffic. Hello, is anybody out there? (Hmm, they must be on another app.)

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