In the Guardian yesterday there was a report of a study that shows that even at very low doses, neonicotinoids interfere with the ability of birds to navigate.
This is against a background that the European Union is moving (one step forward, two steps back) to a total ban on these pesticides. The UK is trying to stop the ban. Go figure.
Against this background, I have been thinking about thinking.
In May 2014 I wrote a short article here about Rachel Carson, the biologist who wrote in her book Silent Spring about the consequences of man’s interference with the environment.
Tamara and I made a card that year for World Animal Day. It featured a roan antelope and this statement about the current state of affairs. We wrote:
When Rachel Carson wrote ‘Silent Spring’
in 1962, people could perhaps claim they
didn’t know about the hidden destruction
to the environment, to wildlife.
No one can claim that now.
We wrote that because of the destruction of habitats and the crashing to near-extinction of wildlife of all kinds, both here in the UK and worldwide.
We saw that politicians were powerless against or, lobbyists for, businesses that simply didn’t seem care.
We joked ironically, asking where where these people were going to retreat to? Were they going to sit on their paradise islands and watching the sun dip over the horizon of a dead planet?
I am reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, and he makes a damning case for the destruction of the environment by Homo sapiens going back many thousands of years. He describes how time and time again, when man first reached a new destination – an island, a continent – the big fauna disappeared ‘overnight’.
And that got me thinking that perhaps this modern era is the first time in human history when there are any people who give a damn about whether the environment and its flora and fauna is destroyed.
It’s the first ray of hope I can tell myself against the figures for the crash in populations of just about all species.