Suppose you want to make a reservation at The Restaurant at the End of the Ecosphere, one of the most exclusive destinations in the entire universe. This is not an undertaking for the faint-hearted. To have a chance of booking your place to witness the mass extinction to end all mass extinctions — an event that will exterminate at least 10 million species of complex multicellular life-forms — you’ll need perseverance on a truly superhuman scale.
Over 40% of insect species are at risk of extinction over the next few decades and 75% to 98% of insect biomass has already been lost, according to this review of the current state of knowledge about insect declines, with habitat loss through conversion to intensive agriculture being the main driver. Agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are also driving insect declines.
I have stood by my window overlooking a ragged Suffolk garden and marshland for over a decade now and seen the insects disappear, the old hawthorns and ashes cut down, how the thrush and little owl no longer call from the hedge, how the green woodpecker no longer comes to forage for ants, the hedgehog to sleep in the woodpile, or the hares and lapwings appear in the fields
Maybe there’s seemed to be a disconnect between the message we’ve been bringing – that this society is knowingly causing the harshest catastrophe in history – and the actions we’ve been taking? Maybe if the wider public see that hundreds feel the need to go to jail over this, they might start to seriously ask why? With these stakes, it’s worth a shot.