SAVING THE INSECTS

Did your childhood include swallowtail and monarch butterflies fluttering through your neighborhood? Caterpillars chewing backyard leaves? Warm summer nights with fireflies blinking in the bushes? The song of cicadas lulling you to sleep?

Sadly these magical experiences are becoming less and less common. We’re losing these natural wonders as vast numbers of amazing insects are disappearing throughout the world.

INSECTS MATTER

Insects are incredible. And it’s impossible to overstate their importance in keeping ecosystems and humans healthy and functioning. They’re the base of many food chains — supporting birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. They cycle nutrients, aerate soil, and help pollinate more than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants. [7] So if you like fruits and veggies, you have insects to thank for these tasty, nutritious and vital foods. Insects are also key players in recycling dung and dead organisms. [15, 1] If insects were to vanish, life would be grim indeed.

And insects are declining across the globe. Their extinction crisis jump-started in the mid-20th century and has dramatically worsened over the past 20 years. Today an estimated 41 percent of insect species are declining and at risk of extinction — twice as many insects are at risk of extinction as vertebrates. [16] Factors driving their declines include habitat destruction, pesticides, invasive species and global climate change. [16]

OUR CAMPAIGN

Through our Saving the Insects campaign, the Center fights to save insects from extinction by combining science and creative activism and with environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act.

We fight to get insects the protection they need under the Endangered Species Act. We combat pesticide use by taking on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the pesticide industry for allowing and promoting the heavy use of deadly poison. We challenge projects that harm insect species and their habitats. We work to eliminate illegal trade in them. We help craft and push local, state and federal policies that limit the use of especially toxic pesticides, and we promote better practices to protect insects. We write reports — for the public andpolicymakers — on insects’ status and the threats they face.

Check out these links below (and in the sidebar) for highlights of our Saving the Insects campaign and learn how you can help us protect our planet’s six-legged mini-superheroes.

Native Bees

Tiger Beetles

Fireflies

Ladybird Beetles

Butterflies

 

Banner photo of Mojave poppy bee by Zach Portman/Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota