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Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse

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We have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round. Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become scarcer, our world will slowly grind to a halt; we simply cannot function without them. Drawing on the latest ground-breaking resear We have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round. Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become scarcer, our world will slowly grind to a halt; we simply cannot function without them. Drawing on the latest ground-breaking research and a lifetime's study, Dave Goulson reveals the shocking decline of insect populations that has taken place in recent decades, with potentially catastrophic consequences. He passionately argues that we must all learn to love, respect, and care for our six-legged friends. Eye-opening, inspiring, and riveting, Silent Earth is part love letter to the insect world, part elegy, part rousing manifesto for a greener planet. It is a call to arms for profound change at every level--in government policy, agriculture, industry, and in our own homes and gardens. Although time is running out, it is not too late for insect populations to recover. We may feel helpless in the face of many of the environmental issues that loom on the horizon, but Goulson shows us how we can take simple steps to encourage insects and counter their destruction.


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We have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round. Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become scarcer, our world will slowly grind to a halt; we simply cannot function without them. Drawing on the latest ground-breaking resear We have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round. Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become scarcer, our world will slowly grind to a halt; we simply cannot function without them. Drawing on the latest ground-breaking research and a lifetime's study, Dave Goulson reveals the shocking decline of insect populations that has taken place in recent decades, with potentially catastrophic consequences. He passionately argues that we must all learn to love, respect, and care for our six-legged friends. Eye-opening, inspiring, and riveting, Silent Earth is part love letter to the insect world, part elegy, part rousing manifesto for a greener planet. It is a call to arms for profound change at every level--in government policy, agriculture, industry, and in our own homes and gardens. Although time is running out, it is not too late for insect populations to recover. We may feel helpless in the face of many of the environmental issues that loom on the horizon, but Goulson shows us how we can take simple steps to encourage insects and counter their destruction.

30 review for Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    My Shelf Awareness review: With insect populations down 75% since the early 1970s, University of Sussex biology professor Dave Goulson issues a solemn warning: without insects, "our world will slowly grind to a halt." Essential to food chains, they also provide vital services such as pollination and decomposition. But in his hard-hitting, passionate exposé, Goulson doesn't campaign to save insects because of what they do for us; that might make an effective argument with politicians, but for him My Shelf Awareness review: With insect populations down 75% since the early 1970s, University of Sussex biology professor Dave Goulson issues a solemn warning: without insects, "our world will slowly grind to a halt." Essential to food chains, they also provide vital services such as pollination and decomposition. But in his hard-hitting, passionate exposé, Goulson doesn't campaign to save insects because of what they do for us; that might make an effective argument with politicians, but for him the matter is personal: "I do it because I think they are wonderful." One of his earliest memories is of finding caterpillars on his school playground and raising them into moths. Grateful to have made a living from his hobby, he writes with enthusiasm and, in one-page interludes, celebrates bizarre, breathtaking species like cicadas and fireflies. The book painstakingly sets out the threats to insects, including pesticides, fertilizer, light pollution, invasive species and climate change. (Most of these factors directly damage human health as well. For instance, Roundup users who contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma have successfully sued Monsanto.) Statistics and graphs make the case devastatingly clear. As Rachel Carson did in Silent Spring, Goulson conjures a dystopian future: in post-civilizational-collapse 2080, his son is reduced to a meager existence, with hand-pollination required to produce any food. But this vision doesn't have to come true. An invaluable final chapter gives tips for what individuals, as well as local and national governments, can do to start reversing the losses. Insect-friendly habits can start with our own backyards. (Posted with permission from Shelf Awareness.) [All of Goulson's books are of a piece, but that’s no problem because his enthusiasm for insect life is infectious and he writes with the wit and charm of Gerald Durrell. This one has a little more detail than I think is necessary for laymen, and I wished the species portraits could have been longer (and been accompanied by photographs!). (3.5 stars)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Apparently based on bad science, alarmist propaganda by an anti-pesticide nut. ‘Silent Earth’ raises false alarm about non-existent ‘insect apocalypse’ Henry Miller | October 20, 2021 https://geneticliteracyproject.org/20... ...much of Goulson’s evidence is purely anecdotal — such as fewer bugs splattering on the windshields of European cars now compared to the past — and the few studies of global insect populations he does consider are deeply flawed or mischaracterized in his account. Perhaps the mo Apparently based on bad science, alarmist propaganda by an anti-pesticide nut. ‘Silent Earth’ raises false alarm about non-existent ‘insect apocalypse’ Henry Miller | October 20, 2021 https://geneticliteracyproject.org/20... ...much of Goulson’s evidence is purely anecdotal — such as fewer bugs splattering on the windshields of European cars now compared to the past — and the few studies of global insect populations he does consider are deeply flawed or mischaracterized in his account. Perhaps the most problematic study of them all is the one that precipitated the insect apocalypse frenzy — a 2017 study co-authored by Goulson with 11 other scientists that compared insect populations in certain German nature reserves over the last quarter century. Its dramatic finding — that the biomass of flying insects had declined an astonishing 76 percent in 27 years — together with Goulson’s eager goosing of the press — generated the apocalyptic headlines he was clearly seeking.... Experts who raised doubts about the study received little attention, but there was much to criticize. Among other things, the researchers in many cases failed to sample the same sites in comparison years — a fundamental flaw that in itself renders the findings suspect, if not totally meaningless. They also used what are called malaise traps to collect their samples. These only collect insects when they are flying, which is highly influenced by other variables like the weather — insects fly more when it is warmer — making the measurements even less reliable, despite the scientists’ attempt to account for them. And even though the study took place in nature reserves and did not even purport to test possible causes of decline, Goulson was immediately giving interviews to the press blaming agricultural pesticides (a long time hobby-horse of his), in the absence of any evidence in the study to support the claim. --------------------------- Perspective: ‘Silent Earth’ is simply alarmism from an anti-pesticide trustee By Amanda Zaluckyj, The Farmer’s Daughter USA, Published: October 01, 2021 https://www.agdaily.com/insights/pers... ...But it won’t come as any surprise that Goulson isn’t an unbiased and impartial researcher. He’s a trustee for the Pesticide Action Network UK, an activist organization that strives to reduce the use of “hazardous” and “chemical” pest control. Worse, some circles consider Goulson a “scientist for hire.” In other words, his studies elicit the results his clients want. The good news is that Goulson is wrong. The surveys and studies he’s conducted and relies upon are flawed and incomplete, to say the least. Fortunately, scientist Matthew Moran and his hand-selected team published a comprehensive study in 2020 that challenged Goulson’s conclusions. Moran’s approach took raw data spanning decades for various insects in North America. Guess what? They found no significant change in population... ----------------- Standard Disclaimer Look at what shelves this book is on. This book is on my 'do-not-read' shelf because it was shoved under my nose I thought I might want to read it. I did some research & found that it was crap. If you disagree & want to discuss in the comments, you need to prove that it isn't with solid evidence. That means peer reviewed science, not anecdotes, opinions, or sites that are biased. Read the Debunking Handbook which is available for free here & follow its guidelines for providing proof. I'm willing to look at good evidence. I've been wrong before. Comments that don't adhere to the above will be deleted. We're not going to change our minds if you just want to troll. If you repeatedly troll, your comment will be flagged & support will spank you. I may block you, too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Evy

    Als mens is het soms moeilijk om je voor te stellen dat er al miljoenen jaren leven bestaat en dat er in die jaren heel veel veranderd is. Meestal gaan die veranderingen heel traag, maar soms gebeurt er iets waardoor het in één klap anders wordt. Toch was er nooit één diersoort verantwoordelijk voor een snelle veranderingen, die heel veel weerslag heeft op alle andere diersoorten. Dave Goulson neemt dit uitgangspunt, klimaatverandering en de problemen die de natuur heden ten dage ondervindt, en Als mens is het soms moeilijk om je voor te stellen dat er al miljoenen jaren leven bestaat en dat er in die jaren heel veel veranderd is. Meestal gaan die veranderingen heel traag, maar soms gebeurt er iets waardoor het in één klap anders wordt. Toch was er nooit één diersoort verantwoordelijk voor een snelle veranderingen, die heel veel weerslag heeft op alle andere diersoorten. Dave Goulson neemt dit uitgangspunt, klimaatverandering en de problemen die de natuur heden ten dage ondervindt, en focust zich op hoe de insecten hier mee omgaan. Toch is het veel breder dan alleen maar insectenpraat en dat maakt Stille aarde uiterst interessant voor een grote doelgroep. Goulson straalt door middel van zijn woorden een enorme dierenliefde uit. Een kriebelbeestjesliefde eigenlijk, als je het helemaal precies wil benoemen. Hij neemt de lezer mee in zijn passie en zorgt ervoor dat je open gaat staan voor het nut en de schoonheid van deze grote groep dieren. Hij doet dat op een heel toegankelijke en laagdrempelige manier. Natuurlijk kan de Jip en Janneke-taal niet doorheen het hele boek vastgehouden worden en dat zou ook afbreuk doen aan de professionaliteit, maar vooral aan de start van Stille Aarde word je als lezer niet overrompeld met een lading wetenschappelijke termen. De stijl blijft op die manier verfrissend met een goede balans tussen professioneel en aantrekkelijk. Er staan vrij weinig afbeeldingen in de tekst en dat is wel iets wat het nóg plezieriger had kunnen maken. Het is geen strikte noodzaak, maar zeker bij de stukken tekst die wat taaier zijn qua inhoud geeft een foto of een tabel wat afleiding en prikkelt het de lezer op een andere manier die stimulerend werkt om de informatie op te nemen. Nu moet Goulson het toch vooral van zijn beeldend taalgebruik hebben en toegegeven, dat is iets wat hem bijzonder goed afgaat. Stille aarde is een boek dat vooral opgepakt zal worden door lezers die affiniteit hebben met natuur en klimaatveranderingen. Goulson valt voor die groep deels in herhaling, maar hij geeft er wel zodanig een 'nieuwe' draai aan dat je geboeid verder blijft lezen. Ook door het boek op te splitsen in vijf onderdelen die significant van elkaar verschillen, raakt er geen sleur in. Met name deel vier, het toekomstbeeld, en deel vijf, wat kunnen we doen, zijn goede aanvullingen op de basisinformatie over de dreigingen rondom klimaat en de achteruitgang van de insecten. De noodzaak én de wens om tot een groot publiek door te dringen is voelbaar op alle bladzijden van dit boek. Goulson geeft een vrij wetenschappelijk verhaal mee aan de lezer, op een prettige en bijna luchtige manier. In veel zinnen zit een snuifje humor verstopt en toch doet het niets af aan de ernst van de zaak. Het is een mooie mix, en Goulson vindt zo wel de balans om de lezer geboeid te houden, niet af te schrikken en toch bewust te maken en hopelijk tot actie te laten overgaan. Boeken als dit moeten op dit moment eigenlijk massaal gelezen worden, want het is net die bewustwording die er misschien nog voor kan zorgen dat we niet in een onomkeerbare fase komen. Een fase die in het ijzig stille toekomstbeeld van Goulson wordt gepresenteerd. Een fase waarvan velen nog denken dat zij het niet meer gaan meemaken, of dat het zelfs nooit komt. Maar moeten we er niet zachtjesaan vanuit gaan dat we al teveel schade aan onze planeet en de insecten die erop leven hebben toegebracht en dat die insecten veel belangrijker zijn dan we ooit hadden gedacht. Wat als onze kinderen echt in een wereld moeten leven waar ze het gezoem van de dieren niet meer te horen krijgen?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Uitgebreide en heldere uiteenzetting van de teloorgang van de insecten en de onheilspellende gevolgen daarvan voor mens, dier en natuur. Goulson begint met de evolutie van insecten en hun cruciale rol in het ecosysteem: als bestuivers van de meeste gewassen, afbrekers van organisch materiaal, bestrijders van plaagsoorten en hun onmisbare plek in de voedselketen. Vervolgend een overzicht van de diverse onderzoeken die gedaan zijn naar de afname van de insecten en welke oorzaken hieraan ten gronds Uitgebreide en heldere uiteenzetting van de teloorgang van de insecten en de onheilspellende gevolgen daarvan voor mens, dier en natuur. Goulson begint met de evolutie van insecten en hun cruciale rol in het ecosysteem: als bestuivers van de meeste gewassen, afbrekers van organisch materiaal, bestrijders van plaagsoorten en hun onmisbare plek in de voedselketen. Vervolgend een overzicht van de diverse onderzoeken die gedaan zijn naar de afname van de insecten en welke oorzaken hieraan ten grondslag liggen. De intensieve landbouw, met hun toepassing van insecticiden, onkruidverdelgers en kunstmest zijn bekend, maar ook de sterke afname van hun leefgebied, klimaatverandering, uitheemse ziektes, invasieve soorten en zelfs stedelijke lichtvervuiling hebben er aan bijgedragen. Het hoeft niet gezegd te worden dat dit allen door de mens veroorzaakte veranderingen zijn, met het neoliberalistische beleid en kapitalisme als ultieme aanjagers van vele hiervan. Goulson besluit met wat de politiek en iedereen zelf kan doen. Van de (helaas vele) oplossingen die hij aanvoert, is het vooral goed om te zien dat hij hamert op meer en beter natuuronderwijs, te beginnen bij de jongsten en hun leraren. Ondanks alle aandacht die er is voor de klimaatcrisis, is meer fundamentele kennis en bewustzijn onontbeerlijk voor de radicale omslag die nodig is.

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Inquisitive Biologist

    Silent Earth is an important book that warns of insect declines, but does the combination of patchy data and biblical phrases run the risk of disengaging people from a problem that deserves our urgent attention? See my full review at https://inquisitivebiologist.com/2021... Silent Earth is an important book that warns of insect declines, but does the combination of patchy data and biblical phrases run the risk of disengaging people from a problem that deserves our urgent attention? See my full review at https://inquisitivebiologist.com/2021...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Doc Martin

    A thoroughly depressing tale of habitat loss, invasive species, foreign diseases, mixtures of pesticides, climate change, light pollution, and probably other man-made agents we have yet to recognise. Key learning for me is the need for systems thinking. We need to break out of our silos and build interdisciplinary scenarios for our organisations and their ecosystems. ‘The climate change scientists warned of the impact of a disrupted climate, biologists talked about the consequences of loss of bio A thoroughly depressing tale of habitat loss, invasive species, foreign diseases, mixtures of pesticides, climate change, light pollution, and probably other man-made agents we have yet to recognise. Key learning for me is the need for systems thinking. We need to break out of our silos and build interdisciplinary scenarios for our organisations and their ecosystems. ‘The climate change scientists warned of the impact of a disrupted climate, biologists talked about the consequences of loss of biodiversity, fisheries scientists warned of depleted fish stocks, ecotoxicologists studied heavy metal poisoning, or plastics pollution, and so on and so on. None of them could fully anticipate that all of these processes were interlinked, with synergies that no-one could predict.’ The book ends with practical advice and actions to avert the insect apocalypse. · Encouraging environmental awareness · Greening our urban areas · Transforming our food system · Improving protection of rare insects and habitats An important book in which we can learn to live as part of nature, rather than apart from it. Now we look to COP 15 on Biological Diversity in October 2021 for global leadership and direction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Els

    Stille aarde. Hoe we de insecten van de ondergang kunnen redden. Door: Dave Goulson. Goulson heeft een missie: de wereld er van overtuigen dat het alarmerend slecht gaat met de insectenwereld én in één klap aantonen hoe wij daar zelf iets aan kunnen doen. Hij is hoogleraar biologie, geeft lezingen én schrijft boeken. Zijn laatste boek is Stille aarde, wederom een indrukwekkend boeiend boek. Ik las De tuinjungle en werd daar enorm door gegrepen: door de hoeveelheid informatie in verband met wat er Stille aarde. Hoe we de insecten van de ondergang kunnen redden. Door: Dave Goulson. Goulson heeft een missie: de wereld er van overtuigen dat het alarmerend slecht gaat met de insectenwereld én in één klap aantonen hoe wij daar zelf iets aan kunnen doen. Hij is hoogleraar biologie, geeft lezingen én schrijft boeken. Zijn laatste boek is Stille aarde, wederom een indrukwekkend boeiend boek. Ik las De tuinjungle en werd daar enorm door gegrepen: door de hoeveelheid informatie in verband met wat er fout gaat én door de tips hoe we zelf aan de slag kunnen gaan om de catastrofe iets minder groot te laten worden. Stille aarde is eenzelfde soort boek. Het staat boordenvol weetjes die je met iedereen wil (moet) delen. Het is interessant, urgent, actueel, wetenschappelijk, filosofisch, angstaanjagend én vlot geschreven (belangrijk om al die informatie leesbaar te houden). Goulson heeft de gave om bergen informatie duidelijk, overzichtelijk voor ons samen te vatten, af en toe met humor. En die is broodnodig. Want het gaat niet goed met de insectenwereld. Hoe slecht het écht gaat, daar is soms discussie over. Niemand weet het echt, jammer genoeg. Er zijn niet genoeg cijfers van heel vroeger om mee te vergelijken. En een groot deel van de insectensoorten is nog niet eens ontdekt. Wat wil zeggen dat er soorten uitsterven voor we ze ooit gekend hebben, hoe triest is dat!? Over de oorzaken van het verdwijnen bestaat ook onenigheid, wat wél al vaststaat is dat de mens er een belangrijk aandeel in heeft. De insecten hun leefgebied krimpt, we gebruiken te veel gif en kunstmest, de klimaatopwarming heeft effect, net als lichtvervuiling en gronduitputtende landbouw. Die factoren hebben elk an sich een negatief effect en werken dan nog eens op elkaar in. Tijdens het lezen van Stille aarde voelde ik wanhoop, boosheid, verontwaardiging, angst. Maar naar het einde toe, als Goulson met tips komt, voelde ik ook hoop en goesting en enthousiasme. Mijn emmer vol potgrond met bloemenzaad staat klaar om stiekem een kaal stukje grond te gaan ‘versieren’. En ik wil iedereen oproepen om dit boek te lezen én weetjes te delen. Het is nog niet (helemaal) te laat! Er is zo veel dat jij, dat ik kan doen. Laten we samen aan de slag gaan en de (insecten)wereld redden!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tufty McTavish

    This is grim reading, and in conclusion: We’re doomed. Chapter 17, Raising Awareness, is especially gloomy. “We ostriches are burying our heads in the sand… the large majority […] are paying not the slightest attention.” People will keep voting in terrible people with no motivation to so the necessary work that is clearly required. However, just how each system interacts with another, driven by greed and profits, shows how we are all responsible for these problems.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    When some of us think of insects, it is common for them to be thought of in a negative light. Some of our earliest childhood memories include being stung, bitten, or just plain scared by the sight of them. I can remember running screaming from an outhouse at a provincial park when I was about five years old. What was so scary? It was the sight of a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) hanging in its web in the stall. Fortunately, the experience didn’t make me fear or dislike spiders and as a When some of us think of insects, it is common for them to be thought of in a negative light. Some of our earliest childhood memories include being stung, bitten, or just plain scared by the sight of them. I can remember running screaming from an outhouse at a provincial park when I was about five years old. What was so scary? It was the sight of a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) hanging in its web in the stall. Fortunately, the experience didn’t make me fear or dislike spiders and as a gardener I know how beneficial they are to have around. While some insects may deserve our scorn—such as invasive species such as the LDD moth (Lymantria dispar dispar); Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis); Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica), etc., by and large, the majority of insects are harmless and beneficial. Not long ago, I saw a couple—perhaps grandparents, out for a walk with their grandson. One of them was urging the young boy to stomp on an ant on the pavement, calling out “Get it! Get it!” It was disheartening to see. It is experiences like this that call for a shift in our thinking about insects. And this is also a shared view of the author of this book--British entomologist Dave Goulson. Goulson’s work is primarily focused on Bumblebees and as the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in the UK, he is dedicated to reversing the decline of them. He is also known for his work that was instrumental in influencing the European Union’s decision to ban neonicotinoids in 2013. Goulson wrote this book in an effort to bring more public attention to the recent and rapid decline of global insect populations—which are critical for our planet’s survival. He also explores the chief causes of insect declines such as habitat fragmentation, industrial farming practices, pesticides, climate change, and non-native insect diseases and provides suggestions for readers that can help support insects—especially gardeners. Here are a few highlights from the book: Goulson refers to a phenomenon called “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” where humans tend to only see their current world as “normal” and are unable to detect changes over time. Humans also tend to have something called “personal amnesia” in which they downplay the extent of change. With these points in mind, it is no wonder that most people would not know that insect populations have recently declined by as much as 75% and that there have been parallel declines in populations of insectivorous birds. Goulson is also concerned about the level of human awareness of the existence of the natural world. It is important to learn the names of plants and animals—otherwise they cease to exist. If they don’t exist, their importance can’t be recognized. Astonishingly, in 2007, some of the words eliminated from the Oxford Junior Dictionary included words such as acorn, fern, moss, clover, kingfisher, otter, among others. 87% of all plant species require pollination in order to flower, produce fruit/seeds, and ensure perpetuation of the species. This includes 75% of all agricultural crops. Most of this is performed by insects and a large part is performed by those other than bees—flies, ants, beetles, wasps, moths and butterflies. A world without insects means that we would need to subsist mainly on cereal crops as these can be wind-pollinated. I can’t imagine going without fruits such as strawberries, apples, cherries, raspberries, and even my morning coffee. Insects are not only important pollinators, but they assist in the development of healthy soils. Not only do they help to aerate soil, they are valuable decomposers of organic matter—participating in a process along with bacteria that help make nutrients more available to plants. As biological control agents, predatory insects such as Lady Bugs (Coccinellidae spp.), Lacewings (Chrysopidae spp.), Ground Beetles (Carabidae spp.), Wasps (Vespidae spp.), etc., can help us reduce the need for pesticides. Despite the current state of things, Goulson is optimistic that insect declines can be stabilized or reversed because they are generally good at reproducing—we just need to support them better. Here are a few ideas taken from the book: Reduce or avoid the use of pesticides and give beneficial predatory insects a chance to take care of the problem first. Incorporate a wide range of native plants that flower throughout the season in your garden to attract beneficial insects. Purchase plants from an organic nursery, save seeds, or seed-swap among friends to ensure your plants have not been grown with pesticides. Reduce lawn and use the space for more plants. Reduce mowing of the lawn that exists. Allow a corner of your garden to “grow wild” and “get messy.” Choose native plants over cultivars. Some cultivars are supportive of pollinators but many are sterile or lack pollen and therefore are unable to provide food. The ones that are most likely to be the least supportive will have features such as double blooms, different leaf colours, etc. Reduce planting of ornamental annuals like Petunias, Begonias, Pansies, etc. because of their tendency to have no pollen or nectar. Recognize that commercially produced “Bee Hotels” can become populated by non-native bees as well as native bees. If used, periodically clean them so as to reduce mites and fungi that can be harmful to the bees. Reconsider taking up beekeeping as a hobby. The European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) threatens native bees in North America because they take the lion’s share of available plant pollen. It is also not a good strategy to rely on one species for pollination in case something happens to that species. Raise awareness and share your knowledge with family and friends. You can convince others that insects need our help if they realize they themselves will be personally impacted by their decline. In the end, this book may turn out to be read only by those who are already "converted." It has such a valuable message and so hopefully, it will reach a broader audience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ellis Hyman

    I read this book with the intention of learning to appreciate insects more and it certainly delivered. This book gave me a greater understanding of why our little friends are so amazing and important and why we should care about them. It highlighted the amazing and fascinating aspects of these creatures while highlighting how we are damaging the earth and how we can help stop it. I especially loved the blurb on each new insect at the end of the chapters, that was my favourite part! Insects are r I read this book with the intention of learning to appreciate insects more and it certainly delivered. This book gave me a greater understanding of why our little friends are so amazing and important and why we should care about them. It highlighted the amazing and fascinating aspects of these creatures while highlighting how we are damaging the earth and how we can help stop it. I especially loved the blurb on each new insect at the end of the chapters, that was my favourite part! Insects are rad as heck. Some of the ideas were a bit repetitive and I think it could have been edited down a little bit, but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this read. And now insects can hang.....except mosquitoes. Just kidding! ....unless ;). No I am kidding, mosquitoes can hang.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tfalcone

    Excellent book! I don't quite agree with all the numbers (I will explain*), but it does bring the insect problem to the forefront. Most non-biologists take their cues about global warming and climate change from "charismatic megafauna" - the advertising animals of the WWF , because that tugs at the heart string and brings in money. Invertebrates not so much. Mostly we think of them as pests. We need to change that idea. Looking at the one disagreeing review, I did some research and it seems that Excellent book! I don't quite agree with all the numbers (I will explain*), but it does bring the insect problem to the forefront. Most non-biologists take their cues about global warming and climate change from "charismatic megafauna" - the advertising animals of the WWF , because that tugs at the heart string and brings in money. Invertebrates not so much. Mostly we think of them as pests. We need to change that idea. Looking at the one disagreeing review, I did some research and it seems that indeed land invertebrates are declining and water invertebrates are increasing. ( Science, Van Klink et al., April 2020) What you cannot deny is that we are in the sixth extinction and it is in our own best interest to do something about it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adele

    Interesting, informative, and hopeful, even in the face of such depressing subject matter. Although, at times, it veered off topic and into the realm of chastisement, the author's passion and love for the subject matter shone through on every page. Interesting, informative, and hopeful, even in the face of such depressing subject matter. Although, at times, it veered off topic and into the realm of chastisement, the author's passion and love for the subject matter shone through on every page.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lewis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An eye-opening book about something that easily passes us by as humans. We hear about the decline of bees but very rarely hear about the decline of any other insects which are just as (if not more) important to our biodiverse ecosystem. In short terms, insects are vital to keeping our ecosystems in check and they can prove so much more useful than what the current arboricultural sector believes. Even wasps, who many people despise, are both pollinators of wildflowers and predators of crop pests An eye-opening book about something that easily passes us by as humans. We hear about the decline of bees but very rarely hear about the decline of any other insects which are just as (if not more) important to our biodiverse ecosystem. In short terms, insects are vital to keeping our ecosystems in check and they can prove so much more useful than what the current arboricultural sector believes. Even wasps, who many people despise, are both pollinators of wildflowers and predators of crop pests such as aphids and caterpillars. In the book, Dave brings to the recognition that we are now living in the 'Anthropocene' in which the Earth's ecosystems and climate are being fundamentally altered by the activities of humans. Eighty species of mammal and 182 species of bird are known to have been lost in the modern era and although most species have not yet gone extinct, it is quite apparent that wild animals are generally far less abundant than they once were. Dave uses the "recent landmark paper by the Israeli scientist Yinon Bar-On estimated that since the rise of human civilisation 10,000 years ago wild mammal biomass has fallen by 83 per cent." and the "World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London’s ‘Living Planet Report’, which estimated that between 1970 and 2014 the total population of the world’s wild vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds) fell by 60 per cent." as examples to show just how us humans have affected the planet's ecosystem in recent years. Moving on to insects, it is estimated that insects are declining by about 2.5 per cent each year, with 41 per cent of insect species threatened with extinction. "'We are witnessing the largest extinction event on Earth since the late Permian' (the largest extinction event in Earth's history, which occurred 252 million years ago)". But the difficulty is, people are failing to notice. As much as there is now talk of climate change, people are failing to see the increasing urgency of how we, as humans, need to change the lifestyles we lead. We have become so accustomed to how we eat, travel and have comfort that we are failing to see any other way. Dave uses the term 'shifting-baseline syndrome' whereby we accept the world we grow up in as normal, although it might be quite different from the world our parents grew up in. But aside from that, many people are not first-hand witnesses to the deforestation taking place around the globe or the harmful agricultural sector which poisons our soils, streams and rivers to ensure a good harvest. We, simply, are not involved so we turn our heads. But the reality is that only 6.2 million square kilometres remain of the 16 million square kilometres of forest that once clothed the earth. Farmed soils are eroding and degrading at an alarming scale and 17,000 tons of poison is layered across farmland each year, killing all kinds of insects and plant species. Globally 571 plant species have gone extinct since records began, but who knew? Fertilisers, no doubt, make farmers' lives easier but that is the point. We have become so accustomed to finding new hints and tips that make our lives easier that we have completely forgotten about our ultimate task, as humans. The Stoics write about being 'at one' with nature and that the universe is all interlinked, but we are using these tips that we have discovered to break that link and do harm to the environment. Yes, we are starting to make people more aware of the harm we are doing to the planet and people are 'pledging' to make a difference, but what do these 'pledges' even mean? Are they to be held accountable if they don't meet their 'pledges'? In the book, Dave states "In 2016, 196 governments from around the world made commitments to keep climate change below a maximum of 2°C, and ideally no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in the Paris Agreement. In the years since, not one single major industrial nation has got on track to fulfil those commitments. All the measures put in place so far to tackle climate change, such as the proliferation of green energy sources (wind, solar, wave etc.), the move to more fuel-efficient cars, better insulation of homes and so on have had no measurable effect on carbon dioxide emissions, which continue to rise at an accelerating rate every year. We have simply been using more energy than ever before, more than wiping out the benefits of these new technologies. You might expect that creating green energy would reduce the need for energy from fossil fuels, but it has not worked out that way so far. Instead, our energy-hungry economy simply sucks up all the energy it can get, and cries out for more." But Dave believes that WE can make a change. For our own lives and for the betterment of the planet. People need to realise that it's the choices WE make that make a huge difference, WE are the consumers, what WE buy, what WE do in our spare time, what WE use to travel all determine what gets offered to US consumers. We can start buying organic, free-range, localised meat. We can reduce our food waste, reduce overconsumption, and switch to eating only small quantities of meat from outdoor-reared animals. We can create green outdoor spaces in our gardens, filling them with plants and herbs that allow insects to thrive. We can stop using pesticides completely and again try to teach farmers that there are other, even more, profitable ways if they were just willing to learn. We can use our voices, to speak to local authorities and ask them to stop spraying pesticides on our natural land, to plant pollinator-friendly flowers or even to just let them grow. We can even petition for our children's schools to create green areas where the children can grow plants or vegetables. And with this increase in the natural environment around us, we can live a much more flourished and healthier life. "Just fifteen minutes spent walking in nature has been found to leave subjects with improved attention and sense of well-being, compared to subjects asked to walk in heavily urbanised areas." Governments can do plenty to help out the environment and ourselves simultaneously, but I believe that if we wait on them, it will be too late. We need to act for ourselves, act as communities and try to change the way people understand what is happening and what they can do to change. We need to do this for our children's and grandchildren's lives.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saskia

    “Ik wil dat je insecten ziet zoals ik: als mooie, verrassende soms ongelooflijk vreemde, soms sinistere en verontrustende, maar altijd wonderlijke dieren die onze waardering verdienen.” De passie en liefde van Dave Goulson voor insecten spat echt van elke bladzijde in Stille aarde. De auteur is hoogleraar biologie en gespecialiseerd in de hommel, toch wel bijzonder. In een vlotte en aangename schrijfstijl neemt Dave Goulson de lezer in vijf uitgebreide hoofdstukken mee in de insectenwereld. Heel bo “Ik wil dat je insecten ziet zoals ik: als mooie, verrassende soms ongelooflijk vreemde, soms sinistere en verontrustende, maar altijd wonderlijke dieren die onze waardering verdienen.” De passie en liefde van Dave Goulson voor insecten spat echt van elke bladzijde in Stille aarde. De auteur is hoogleraar biologie en gespecialiseerd in de hommel, toch wel bijzonder. In een vlotte en aangename schrijfstijl neemt Dave Goulson de lezer in vijf uitgebreide hoofdstukken mee in de insectenwereld. Heel boeiend vond ik de geschiedenis van de insecten, een ongelooflijke evolutie. Vanaf hun prille ontstaan is meteen duidelijk hoe belangrijk die kleine diertjes voor het voortbestaan van onze planeet zijn. “We hebben insecten namelijk nodig om gewassen te bestuiven, mest, bladeren en dode dieren te recycleren, de bodem gezond te houden, plaagdieren te bestrijden en nog veel, veel meer.” Maar jammer genoeg gaat het steeds minder goed met onze insecten. De auteur schetst heel uitgebreid de oorzaken van die achteruitgang. De onderzoeken die hierbij van belang zijn, worden wel zeer uitvoerig besproken. Cijfers, percentages, tabellen,… het deed me soms een beetje duizelen. Maar op deze manier dringt de conclusie zeer goed door. Het is echt verontrustend hoe slecht het met de insecten gaat. Verandering in landbouw, giftige bestrijdingsmiddelen en kunstmest, het wegkappen van bomen, ziekten en parasieten,… De samenhang tussen zoveel verschillende problemen is nefast voor die kleine kriebelbeestjes. Het gaf me toch wel een triestig gevoel om te lezen dat we absoluut niet goed omspringen met Moeder Aarde. Die confrontatie kwam soms best hard aan. Maar er is gelukkig nog hoop. Dave Goulson sluit het boek af met enorm veel tips voor zowel instanties en de overheid, als voor ieder individu. Wat kan jij bijvoorbeeld doen? Het gras minder maaien, een composthoop aanleggen, een bijenhotel voorzien, plaatselijke en duurzame producenten steunen, minder vlees eten,… Ja, samen kunnen we er echt iets aan doen! Stille aarde is zeer overtuigend geschreven. Het enthousiasme van de auteur en zijn gedrevenheid, zijn zo voelbaar. En Dave Goulson verwent de lezer ook graag met zeer korte intermezzo’s over zijn favoriete insecten. Leuke wist-je-datjes over bijvoorbeeld vuurvliegenverleidsters, bladsnijmieren, elektrostatische hommels en zoveel meer. Fijne tussendoortjes! Hoewel ik soms werd overladen met een overvloed aan informatie, heb ik zeker genoten van dit boeiende en overtuigende boek. Graag 3,5 sterren voor Stille aarde. “We moeten in harmonie met de natuur leren leven, onszelf beschouwen als een onderdeel ervan, haar niet proberen te overheersen en met ijzeren hand te dwingen.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Patterson

    Possibly the most topical book you will encounter at the present time but it may well be out of date within a few years - it might be a precursor to our worst nightmare or it may be proved to be an incorrect analysis of the oncoming doom of civilization. I like the writer's easy-going style on a subject that could send shivers down your spine about the possible apocalypse of the human species. That said he tells it as it is and the facts speak for themselves -we appear to be on a one-way route t Possibly the most topical book you will encounter at the present time but it may well be out of date within a few years - it might be a precursor to our worst nightmare or it may be proved to be an incorrect analysis of the oncoming doom of civilization. I like the writer's easy-going style on a subject that could send shivers down your spine about the possible apocalypse of the human species. That said he tells it as it is and the facts speak for themselves -we appear to be on a one-way route to insects being exterminated (well the helpful ones at least) and the dreadful effect that will have on the survival prospects of the human race unless we start to do something sooner rather than later - and that something is described in detail in the final chapter - but do we (politicians, educators, farmers, scientists and those that live and shop in city and village) have the guts to tackle these issues - on this subject I am not an optimist! As someone who has tried to keep abreast of climate change, environmental matters, and recent weather upsets I concur with what is being argued - I am still to be convinced that we will take the actions suggested and I have to say I am not at all happy with arguments regarding changing the ways we have farmed for centuries being erased with no mention as to how people and local communities will be rehabilitated. I know some of these people coming from a rural community in the Scottish Borders and find it difficult to blame them for farming in a traditional way whilst big farms, or do we call them units, get away with virtual murder! That said it is likely that we are all going to have to change our ways not just in farming but also in eating, buying from overseas, living in both urban and rural communities even how we garden our small patch next to the house. This book covers most aspects of life that have a knock-on effect on how we handle, live with, and adapt to our natural habitat. Just to say if this book doesn't wake you up to the problem then you are definitely in a position where you are the problem and in a deep state of self-denial. The time for pulling your punches is long gone!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** Bugs are cool and Dave Goulson seems to be on a one man mission to convince the world of this fact. He's doing a pretty good job! I really appreciated how he broke down the science and how we know what we know when it comes to insect populations. This is a complicated space with a lot of variables at play and he broke then down clearly for laypeople. Ultimately, a lot of this book is depressing. The science points to some very dangerous trends and a l ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** Bugs are cool and Dave Goulson seems to be on a one man mission to convince the world of this fact. He's doing a pretty good job! I really appreciated how he broke down the science and how we know what we know when it comes to insect populations. This is a complicated space with a lot of variables at play and he broke then down clearly for laypeople. Ultimately, a lot of this book is depressing. The science points to some very dangerous trends and a lot of the actions we can take are barely a drop in the bucket. It took me awhile to read because I had to take breaks to process how BAD we've let things get. Then you throw the specter of climate change over the whole thing and it can feel hopeless. As an city dweller with a very small yard, a lot of the action items the author lists aren't feasible for me which is unfortunate. His advice to seek out local conservation groups, however, is a goldmine. I had no idea there was so much going on in my area! That was encouraging to learn. Overall, this is a thorough book written in an approachable style and, happily, ends with several pages of action items for individuals, local, and national governments. I recommend it to anyone who cares about planet Earth.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gwen Vandendriessche

    Dit is een noodkreet van iemand die om het leven in al zijn vormen geeft en het ziet wegkwijnen onder de druk van het ondoordachte gedrag van de mensen en van de maatschappij. Hier en daar is er een bladzijde gewijd aan het bewonderen van een bijzondere soort maar het grootste deel gaat over de "duizend steken die de insecten doden" en waar snel een halte aan geroepen moet worden. In tegenstelling tot "De tuinjungle" die ik zelfs aan andere mensen cadeau heb gegeven, zal ik dit boek niet aanrade Dit is een noodkreet van iemand die om het leven in al zijn vormen geeft en het ziet wegkwijnen onder de druk van het ondoordachte gedrag van de mensen en van de maatschappij. Hier en daar is er een bladzijde gewijd aan het bewonderen van een bijzondere soort maar het grootste deel gaat over de "duizend steken die de insecten doden" en waar snel een halte aan geroepen moet worden. In tegenstelling tot "De tuinjungle" die ik zelfs aan andere mensen cadeau heb gegeven, zal ik dit boek niet aanraden omdat het voor mij toch een deprimerend boek was. Ik hoop dat de auteur zijn doel echter bereikt en dat het helpt om iets te doen veranderen door het gedrag van een of meerdere lezers te beïnvloeden dat een verschil maakt.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Rudin

    Similar to “The Garden Jungle”, this book first sets the rather gloomy and dire stage by going over the all too familiar ground of how we are ruining the planet. I actually skipped ahead to the action part as the “state of the planet” report is all too depressing and familiar. The guide to action and the imagining of a future in tune with nature are worth the wait. Although, interestingly enough he refers us to his “The Garden Jungle” book for more details. The upshot is we simply need more Dave Similar to “The Garden Jungle”, this book first sets the rather gloomy and dire stage by going over the all too familiar ground of how we are ruining the planet. I actually skipped ahead to the action part as the “state of the planet” report is all too depressing and familiar. The guide to action and the imagining of a future in tune with nature are worth the wait. Although, interestingly enough he refers us to his “The Garden Jungle” book for more details. The upshot is we simply need more Dave Goulsons, in fact I think that is his point, that for true change to occur, he can’t just be a literal lone voice crying in the wilderness.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rudi Pauwelijn

    Een vlot (geschreven) leesbaar boek over wat er aan de hand is in en op de (teel) aarde , ik begrijp ( en deel) ook wat de bezorgdheden van de schrijver , en de beschreven verschillende oorzaken en oplossingen (?). De hervormingen voor de voedsel sectoren zijn soms een beetje bangelijk maar waarschijnlijk vroeg of (te) later noodzakelijk, ...... mss terug meer mensen aan de slag in een menselijke en leefbare voedsel economie , Niet betaalbaar (?). ..... honger kan zorgen dat de culturele kaarten Een vlot (geschreven) leesbaar boek over wat er aan de hand is in en op de (teel) aarde , ik begrijp ( en deel) ook wat de bezorgdheden van de schrijver , en de beschreven verschillende oorzaken en oplossingen (?). De hervormingen voor de voedsel sectoren zijn soms een beetje bangelijk maar waarschijnlijk vroeg of (te) later noodzakelijk, ...... mss terug meer mensen aan de slag in een menselijke en leefbare voedsel economie , Niet betaalbaar (?). ..... honger kan zorgen dat de culturele kaartenhuizen even snel plat liggen of een andere ontwrichting

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pea

    A triumph, a concise, logical, relevant, informative insight into the pressing issues of our planet. A fantastic read for non scientists, for all ages, easy to pick up and put down & points are clearly made and explained. A book that should be on every reading list of every school in the world. Thank you Dave, the world needed this.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alan Eyre

    Finished. Good. “The foundation of our civilization, and of the economic growth that had so preoccupied our politicians, was a healthy environment. Without bees, soil, dung beetles, worms, clean water and air, one cannot grow food, and without good the economy is nothing.”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    A plea to act before it is to late, a fantastic read, Goulson is great at making the science accessible and bugs irresistible. A fantastic book to read to be better informed and armed to go out and have conversations with others about what is wrong and why we must all act now before it is to late.

  23. 4 out of 5

    René

    Alarmerend boek met veel dingen die wel bekend zijn maar niet eerder zo helder op een rijtje gezet zijn met tussendoor leuke fun facts over insecten. Ook als je niet weet wat je zelf kan doen om de natuur en insecten te helpen en aanrader. Wel minder dan de andere boeken van Dave goulson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann Cooper

    An extremely well written and gloomy analysis of our current plummeting insect populations and what we could do about it if we had the will. Grim reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Douglas T. Chang

    Fantastic content. The last few chapters is the best. What actions we all can take.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hilary May

    Fascinating if depressing at times. Notes of hope and I will try to get others on board. A little more nature is what we all need in our lives.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Powerful and frightening

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katnuck

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vermicious

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chandra

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