You must’ve heard of the threat to the bee population. But it is quickly getting much worse and we don’t often hear about it. A recent UN study tells us that an estimated 16% of vertebrate pollinators are threatened with global extinction. This number increases to a staggering 30% for island species. And the trend is toward more extinctions.
Pollinators–birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, and the like–are essential to food production and their well-being is directly linked to our own. So obviously, their rising extinction threat is a threat to our sustenance.
About three-fourths of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators. These pollinators are vital to the world’s food production and contribute to billions of dollars in food yield. This is not just the birds and the bees but more species, and these species are at risk, according to the report released by the United Nations.
Simon Potts, the co-chair of the current assessment and Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the University of Reading, said, “Without pollinators, many of us would no longer be able to enjoy coffee, chocolate and apples, among many other foods that are part of our daily lives.”
Pesticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides, threaten pollinators worldwide, according to the assessment. However, the long-term effects are still unknown.
It is not yet doomsday though. We can make changes to reduce the extinction risks, including but not limited to sustainable agriculture, diversifying crops and eco-friendly food production, etc. Here’s hoping we can turn the tide.