Earlier today, November 27, 2018, the New York Times Magazine released a feature titled “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here – What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?” (link provided below). Key threads running through this superb article include the crucial role of insects to all life on Earth, the role of so-called “amateurs” working to understand biodiversity better, the magnitude of the risks we face, and the linkages with our agricultural methods. Anecdotes abound far and wide of people noticing fewer insects on their windshield when they drive today versus a few decades ago. A particularly profound quote near the end of the article reads, “The fecund abundance that is insects’ singular trait should enable them to recover, but only if they are given space and the opportunity to do so.”
Adding to the “windshield test”, NOFA-NJ farmers who have visited or worked on both conventional and organic farms have noticed a phenomenon of having a significant number of insects that end up in their tractor front-loader buckets when driving around in organic fields, but not in conventional, monoculture fields treated with pesticides. Recent tours of a particular permaculture farm near Frenchtown rewarded attendees with a view of an abundance of diverse insect life. In the spirit of the quote, “The plural of anecdote is data”, it appears that local efforts to embed biodiversity support into farm planning have been effective. Yet another huge reason to go organic!