We often think of animals as our companions, we rely on certain animals for food and transportation, and some animals even get a special place in our home and hearts. However, we often forget that animals, including insects, are actually essential to our survival and that they need our protection.
There has been a lot of talk about bees, especially since farmers became aware of colony collapse disorder in 2004. In June 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture called it “the biggest general threat to our food supply.” We need bees not only for honey, but also because they pollinate, which enables us to grow fruit, vegetables, even flowers. Without them our food supply would collapse (can you imagine trying to hand pollinate every flower?).
In addition to bees, butterflies and worms are also essential. Scientists study butterflies to gain clues about future climate changes, which make it possible for them to make recommendations that can help shape our future. Worms are fabulous eaters, and benefit to our soil with their castings. Vermicomposting has been gaining popularity, and is an amazing source of compost for the garden, as well as a viable alternative to throwing out food and paper. Worms can help us solve our landfill issues.
And lastly, bats are in danger, which puts us in another predicament. Bats not only produce amazing guano that is used for fertilizing the soil, but they also keep the insect population in check. A single bat can consume up to 1200 insects an hour! In addition to keeping the insect population in balance, bats pollinate or disburse the seeds of more than 300 important species, including wild bananas, wild avocados and durian, and cactus and agave.
Everything that we do effects animals in some way, and in turn affects our future. It’s time to start thinking about our choices a little more, and do what we can to help these species survive and thrive.