Breaking Down: Collapse

Episode 43 - Insect Collapse

July 13, 2021 Kory & Kellan Episode 43
Breaking Down: Collapse
Episode 43 - Insect Collapse
Show Notes Transcript

Insects are at the bottom of the food chain, and entire ecoystems rely on them. As human activity continues to fill the corners of the earth and cause unrelenting climate change, insect populations are being affected. What do we know about the scale of the problem, and what it means for us?

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Episode 43 - Edit

Kory: [00:00:00] Kellan every day. There are things about my life that I wish were better, but there are also things about my life that I'm extremely grateful for. And one of those right now is that I don't live in the Pacific Northwest. 

Kellan: [00:00:26] Have you ever wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest? 

Kory: [00:00:29] So I visited Oregon a few times and I actually really do like it, Cannon beach. It's all super beautiful. My wife's family loves to go there. And this is obviously way old news by the time that this is actually being published because we record our episodes a few weeks in advance. But just seeing this past week, what has happened temperature wise in Portland, in Seattle and up in Canada, British Columbia is just outrageous. I think in Portland, it topped 117. It's It's like 117.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just insane. They were saying that Vegas has never breached 117. So you've got Portland, Oregon who normally has a temperature of like 75, 77 degrees this time of year, breaking 117 degrees when Las Vegas itself has never done that. 

Kellan: [00:01:19] Yeah, you know, I've got a brother who lives up in the Seattle area and he said he was just fine. You know, they've got air conditioning, but a lot of people, their air conditioning went out and the strain that, that has on the power grid and the fact that nobody could get anybody to come repair their air conditioning. He was telling me about families in their neighborhood that had other families staying at their house because when you get that kind of heat, it becomes dangerous. Not only is it uncomfortable, right? You can't sleep. You're miserable. It's hard to work, but it can actually be life-threatening. And I know there were a number of deaths that have been attributed to that he wave. 

Kory: [00:01:52] Yeah. I think the last number that I heard was somewhere around 600 deaths between Canada, Seattle, and Portland, which I guess in the grand scheme of things, 600 doesn't seem like a huge number, but 600 people dying in a matter of a couple of days because of one heat wave is pretty crazy.

Kellan: [00:02:09] And what's crazy to me is that I heard about it because my brother lives up there. But outside of that, I didn't really hear much about it. And not that I'm super up to date on current events and the news, but I stay at least tuned in enough that I thought I would have heard more than I did for something that's that crazy. 

Kory: [00:02:25] Yeah. You know, they're having all these infrastructure problems from this . Roads, buckling, power cables, melting, like you said, all the AC problems. And so many people that don't have AC because they don't need it. When the hottest gates is, you know, low eighties, you don't need it. And so, so many people didn't have it. And I think really the whole region is, is pretty lucky that the grid didn't suffer more than it did, even though, like you said, there were some that, that lost power and loss access to AC. 

But like you said, it's just crazy that this stuff isn't more mainstream. There was a town in Canada called Lytton, and I'm not sure that I'm pronouncing that right, but it's a small town and they recorded, I believe it was the highest temperature of the entire region. And I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was very high and they ended up like the next day having a wildfire spark that destroyed most of the town. And then beyond that, they were saying there was some crazy number of thousands of lightning strikes that were caused because of the smoke from the wildfires created some sort of like fire clouds that induced these insane thunderstorms.

So I don't, I don't understand how any of that works, but it's like, you're getting into like apocalyptic style stuff we're talking about. And yet I only found that out because of the collapse subreddit, you know, reading articles on it there, when I think most people have absolutely no idea that that even happened. 

Kellan: [00:03:46] and it makes me wonder how many other bizarre and crazy things are going on all around the world. And there are things that probably never reach our ears here in the U S. 

Kory: [00:03:55] Yeah, I think about all the people who. Don't pay attention to any of this to them. Life is just normal. And so when you bring up the ideas of collapse and they're like, why nothing, you know, my life's the same. I turned my AC up a little more than usual this week or whatever it is. And it's like, I could even list off all the things that are happening. You know, infrastructure collapses in Florida and entire apartment building collapses and 170 people are buried in the rubble. You know, you hear about that sort of thing maybe happening far away in third world countries, but in our own country, this type of stuff is taking place. And worldwide, you've got these things like cities burning down and apparently some places in Pakistan and other spots in the middle east, they hit wet bulb temperatures that are fatal.

You know, I've seen these other videos of insane hailstorms in Switzerland that are uncommon, that just annihalated cars and buildings. You know, a guy held up a piece of hail that was the size of like a soft ball. And then in the Czech Republic, there was this tornado, an F four they said that ripped through a town.

So just all these crazy different things that are happening that we see because we're paying attention to it, but normal people have no idea is happening. We're watching collapse happen around us. We're watching climate change before our eyes and seeing it. And yet, because it's not affecting every person in their pocket book or in their pantry, it goes unnoticed.

Kellan: [00:05:16] I like that you said we notice stuff like this. And then you said, but normal people... 

Kory: [00:05:21] we are definitely not normal people. I think that's already been established. 

So the topic for this week, admittedly, there is a whole ton of information to research and talk about when it comes to this, which is the decrease in insect populations. This'll be one that we'll do some deeper research into later and come back to. And one of the main reasons for that is that there's still a lot of unknowns. You know, we talk about some things on the podcast that are relatively recent, as far as the amount of study and research that's going into them. And I think that this is one of them.

It's a pretty fluid situation. And it's one that is actually really hard to do the research on and study because the scope of it is so big. And so while I have some other reasons about why this is such a difficult topic for scientists to do research on, I think first it might be important to just discuss why this is important. What does insect population have to do with collapse? 

Kellan: [00:06:19] Yeah. I think we'll dive into that in more detail. But insects are at the heart of every food chain and they pollinate the majority of plant species. Ya know, apparently they recycle nutrients. They help keep the soil healthy. Essentially we cannot survive without insects. And as an example, insect pollinators are needed for 75% of all the world's food crops. 

Kory: [00:06:44] And in a world where we talk about, you know, by 2050 needing to produce twice as much food to feed the population. It's a fact then that we need insects to continually flourish to provide us with that food in the future. And it's pretty apparent that obviously if we're having less insects, at a time when we're needing more food than that is a dire. 

And it's crazy to think about just how many insects there are. Um, you know, we see insects, you know, the ants that crawl along the porch and the wasps, you know, the build their nest in the eaves but don't really have that much interaction with them, but this is crazy if you take away plants and if you take away all the bacteria in the world, which make up 95% of our biomass, the remainder of that, the remainder of the biomass, insects make up half of that. So when you take into account, all of the humans, all other animals in existence on the earth insects make up half of that biomass.

Kellan: [00:07:38] Which is absolutely crazy because you think of how many fish are in the ocean and you think of all the birds? It just blows my mind to think that half of all biomass that's not plants or bacteria is insects. It's crazy. 

By the way, it was kind of a side comment. I know you mentioned we don't have that much interaction with insects, but some parts of the world do. Obviously the warmer climates, you know, there are lots of insects. I've commented in the past on this podcast, that I spent some time in Mexico, in a state called Oaxaca. I lived there for awhile and people there eat a lot of bugs. And by the way, I'm sure during this episode, I'm going to say bugs sometimes instead of insects. I know there's a difference, but I'm just lumping them altogether.

But these, they call them chapolines. They're like these grasshoppers and any market that you go to, they've got these big baskets full of them and you can buy them and they're for eating.

And so I know that's not uncommon there, and I know there's many other parts of the world where it's not uncommon, but I can say I'm just really grateful that I live in a place that has all the seasons and there's cold winters, because that means the cockroaches stay small. 

Kory: [00:08:43] I think I recall a story you, you told me once about eating cockroaches with your frosted flakes. 

Kellan: [00:08:48] Yes, my Azucaritas. Let's not dive into that.

Kory: [00:08:51] So anyway, you know, if the insect population were to collapse, entire ecosystems would collapse with it along with, you know, our ability to grow and eat food, the ability for other animals to survive. We pretty much all rely on insects. And a collapsing insect population, you know, this would not be the first time that it's happened throughout history in, in previous mass extinctions, the most recent one being 66 million years ago, insect populations have decreased dramatically. And that has been at least in part a cause of the rest of the ecosystems collapsing as well. 

And in most cases, it takes millions of years for insect populations to recuperate after those mass extinction events. You know, you think about our case. It's been 66 million years since, since the last one. So any damage that's being done currently to insect populations is not something that can be quickly remedied. 

Now, this is one of those topics where, like I said earlier, it's difficult to really get a grasp on how severe the issue is. There's a lot of challenges around the research and the studies to really be able to pin it down. We'll talk about this, but in some ways, and in some places insect populations are actually increasing. Certain places are getting hit worse than others, Certain insect types are getting hit worse than others. So we don't want to make it just sound like this crazy doomery, like, oh, all the insects are disappearing and in 30 years they're going to be all gone and we're going to be dead. That's not the case, but this is a really important piece to the overall picture of collapsing ecosystems. 

Kellan: [00:10:21] Yeah. I know at least a couple of years ago, when some research came out, there were a lot of really alarming headlines and there was all this talk about like an insect apocalypse or an ecological Armageddon. And others who are skeptical of that, you know, did their own research or gathered other research. And there definitely is conflicting research out there. And I think so much of that has to do with the complications, you know, there's flying insects, there's ground insects, there's water insects. And like you said, it's hard to measure and it's different in every area, how those insect populations are being affected. 

Kory: [00:10:52] So there are, they think somewhere between four and 7 million unnamed species of insect and around a million that we have named. So it's pretty hard to track a species and their decline when you don't even have a name for them yet. Obviously in that case, you're not going to have any sort of historical information. So the types of information that we have to use are for the most well known species and types of insects. And even for those, we don't have a lot of really historical data. There's some data that can be used, but to really get a definitive picture of what's happening has proven difficult. 

You know, another thing that makes it hard is that it's common for insect populations to fluctuate. So if we're tracking at one point in time, it's normal cyclically for there to be less of a certain type of insect. Or maybe it was a particularly cold year in one location. You're going to get a lot of variance in those numbers. And so trying to track an overall trend when you have frequent fluctuations in between can be pretty difficult. 

Kellan: [00:11:50] And I might just mention that there's different ways to measure it as well. There's abundance, right, which is just the number of individual insects, there's biomass, like you talked about. The actual mass of all of these insects. And there's biodiversity, trying to figure out how many insect populations are just going extinct and what the population of each of those is kind of like what you talked about before. So all of that plays a part in trying to measure how these populations are being impacted. 

Kory: [00:12:17] Yeah, exactly. And so for this episode, what we've done is we've looked over a bunch of the research, both some of those headlines that Kellan was talking about that were pretty dramatic sounding and some of the ones that were more reserved to get kind of a fair balance of where are we really? Because of the difficulties in doing the research, there is no clear answer. We can't just say like the bugs are going to be gone by this year or anything like that. But we can get an overall idea of the trends and at least kind of come to a conclusion of the direction that we're headed, what could cause it to accelerate or decelerate. And what does it mean for society if it continues in that direction? 

So one of those studies, it was a meta analysis where they took 16 different studies that had been done and kind of aggregated them together to get an overall idea. And so this was for beetles, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and butterflies. And so from those 16 studies, they found that populations had declined by 45% in the previous four decades. 

Another one that came out in the spring of 2017, this was out of Germany. And I think this is kind of the most dramatic one that came out recently that people really talked about was from Germany's Krefeld entomological society. They were talking about reductions in flying insects from 60 different sites in Northwest Germany, and they claimed that flying insect biomass had dropped by 76% in just 27 years.

So if you look at headlines like that, those are enormous numbers, you know, in less than 30 years, losing more than three quarters of the population of flying insects sounds really dramatic. And it is, but it is important to note that like we spoke about earlier, these are in hyperlocalized areas. And so that's not indicative of the overall state of insects globally. 

Kellan: [00:13:57] Yeah. Another one of those really alarming statistics that I saw apparently in Puerto Rico over the last 35 years, there was a 98% decrease in ground insects. And there's even a claim that the rate of extinction among insects is eight times faster than that, of mammals, birds, and reptiles. 

But like you mentioned, some of that is hyperlocalized. There was one collection of data that suggests at least in north America, insect populations aren't really being affected. Whereas in Europe they're declining rapidly. 

Kory: [00:14:29] Yeah. I ran into that same conclusion several times as well in different articles and studies that in certain places in north America, in certain species, there might be declines. But overall it seems like north America has had a relatively stable insect population. Whereas Europe it's been declining rapidly and they say one of the main reasons for that is likely that Europe just has a much higher density of people. Much more of the available land has been converted to agriculture or urban populations. And so it's had a much more lasting impact on the insect populations. 

One thing to consider with all of this is that these are all long-term studies and these long-term studies only take into account areas where they can continually do that testing over that long period of time. They don't continue to monitor in areas that have been deforested or industrialized, or have had cities bill on them. So they're doing the tests out in nature. And so it's not taking into account the locales where the worst damage is being done. So, in other words, there may be like a 1% decline of terrestrial insects in nature, somewhere where they're doing the studies, but it's going to be much higher than that in urbanizing areas or areas being taken over for agriculture. 

All that is to once again say , pinning an exact number down on, on any given large area is all but impossible. 

So with that, the number that I did keep seeing popping up over and over again in individual analyses and in these meta analyses where they're doing a compilation of a bunch of different studies, they basically came up with numbers that were somewhere around 1-2%% decline in terrestrial insects per year. And that freshwater insects were increasing in general at a rate of 1% per year. And just for context, if you lose 1% of insects per year, after 30 years, you would have lost a total of about 25% of the insects you started with. 

So just to be clear, when we say 1% per year, we're not talking about a linear decline. You know, if you start with a hundred percent and you lose 1%, it wouldn't take a hundred years to run out. Just like you have exponential growth you also have exponential decay. So a loss of 1% would be about 25% in a 30 year span. And a loss of 2% per year would be around a 50% decline. So you could assume then that if things kept going at that rate from now to 2050, we would have somewhere between a 25 and a 50% decrease in the total population of land insects. 

Kellan: [00:16:54] So when anyone makes statements like that, you know, inandthey're forecasting out these projections, that's assuming that things will continue at a steady rate. And yet it's probably unrealistic to expect that. But in order for us to understand how that rate of decrease in the insect population might change. I think it's worth understanding why, right. Why we're seeing a decrease. And you mentioned before how urbanization and deforestation, you know, plays a part in it. But I feel like it's a good segue right now to dive into some of the other reasons why we're seeing these trends. 

Kory: [00:17:25] yeah. So we've talked about ecosystems in the past and why they're crazy fragile. And I think insects are much the same way. You know, they've adapted over millions of years to their specific location and evolved to survive based on their environments. And so as their environment shift rapidly, they're unable to, to change and adapt in a way that will allow them to continue. So there's a number of stressors that are on insects. Um, the, one of the biggest is land use change. So deforestation, for example, is the primary driver of land use change. Somewhere around 200,000 acres of forest are destroyed every day. So when you think about all the bugs contained in that area, suddenly their entire environment and habitat is just destroyed. 

But along with that, you have urbanization. So cities being built. Land shifting from being wild-land to suddenly being used for agriculture and agriculture is a huge problem for insects. We've talked in a couple of different episodes in the past about modern agricultural practices. Insecticides are a huge problem and not just directly on the farm either, you know, insecticides can be washed away in the water, spread through different insects, through the wind, that type of thing. 

Along with insecticides, nitrification for fertilizers is also a big stressor for both plants and insects, because they're highly sensitive to the amount of nitrate in the environment. 

 Not surprisingly climate change is a big part of this as well. Temperature changes can affect where insects are able to thrive. And it's interesting because it doesn't take that much of a difference in temperature to actually cause some pretty severe issues with different insects. As one example, heat waves can sterilize coldblooded insects. So some studies have been done that showed that male beetles had a 75% decrease in fertility in a five day heat wave of just a 10 to 12 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature. And any offspring that were born were dying 20% sooner than average. 

So these are beetles that normally thrive in 95 degree Fahrenheit weather, but at just 104 to 107 degrees they had that 75% decrease in fertility. If they were exposed to two different heat waves, 10 days apart, their fertility decreased by 99%. So you get an area like the Pacific Northwest that normally never sees these types of temperatures where suddenly it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average, you're going to see a whole lot of insect species that not just die from the heat, but also have problems like becoming sterile. And the example of beetles is interesting because beetles are believed to be somewhere around 25% of the insect biomass. So all those millions of species of insects, a huge portion of those are beetles like this that become sterilized in heat waves. 

Kellan: [00:20:15] Yeah. My understanding is that for a lot of insect populations changes in the climate can disrupt their mating patterns and in some of those insect populations, there are certain triggers, right? There's certain temperatures or humidity, you know, after the first rainfall or whatever it is, there are certain things that kind of trigger the mating cycle. And when those get disrupted, no matter how fertile they are or sterile, you'll see those major disruptions in those insect populations. 

Kory: [00:20:41] Yeah, exactly. So much of what they do is by instinct by these natural triggers. And when those triggers start getting changed, those types of problems will increase. You know, as the temperature changes, some insects are able to migrate while others aren't. You know, a ground insect may not be able to get very far fast enough while flying insects may be able to. You think about warming temperatures, you know, that can make some insects more abundant, but in a lot of cases, that's going to be insects you don't want, you know, increase in mosquito populations, especially as water that's normally running becomes more stagnant as the flows decrease. And you've got stagnant pools of water and lakes where there weren't before. 

As we go through processes of desertification, you know, as plant life dies, those insects are gonna die too. And we've learned with this heat wave this last week in the Pacific Northwest, that no place is really safe. People used to want to go to the Pacific Northwest because that was going to be one of the final safe havens from climate change, where they had such consistent and great weather, and now we know that's not the case. People in the U S used to say, or commonly, I guess still do say Canada is the place to go to avoid climate change. And yet you've got whole towns burning down. Apocalyptic fire cloud thunderstorms happening in the month of June because of climate change.

So just knowing that nowhere is safe and knowing that these problems are going to continue to get worse with climate change does leave plenty to worry about when it comes to the insect populations. 

 Another big issue is introduced species. So global trade and travel is a big cause of a loss of insect populations. And an example would be honeybees that are killed by the Varroa mites. So these are mites that were introduced first to Africa, then north America and wreak havoc on entire bee colonies. 

And just as a side note, I think we talked about earlier about wanting to do another episode on insects. And I think what we'll probably do with that episode is take a deep dive into some of the more commonly known insects and the major problems that could come by losing them. So honey bees, butterflies Caterpillar's, and so what, we're not going to talk much about those in this episode, I am excited to, to do more research and do a further deep dive into those later. 

But the last cause that we'll talk about here is pollution. So spreading chemical pollution, microplastics, all of these things that we've talked about can have effects on insects, but more than just chemical pollution, There's also a big problem with both sound pollution and light pollution. So those triggers that you talked about before, Kellan, that can tell an insect when it's time to mate, or when it's time to hunt, or for navigation purposes, by messing with the amount of light and by messing with the amount of sound we're actually altering those triggers and wreaking havoc on their ability to do those things. So for example, with light, you know, those outdoor lights that you always see the bugs flying around in your backyard, or whatever studies have shown that around one third of those bugs will be dead by the next morning, either from exhaustion or from predators.

And when you consider all of the light that we're putting out from cities, suburbs, even rural areas, it's just causing all these disruptions. The same thing goes with sound, from cars and airplanes and tractors, screaming children, as all of those things grow and expand. It's just exacerbating the issue further. 

Kellan: [00:23:55] Yeah, because there's so many different species of insects and every one of those is affected in a different way by all of those factors that you talked about. It just goes back to the fact that it's so hard to measure any of this and you can't really just look at it as a whole either. Right? We know that cockroaches are extremely resilient. They're not going to be affected nearly as much as some of these other species. So if cockroach populations are thriving while other insect populations are dying off the total biomass of insects might not be changing at all. It might even be increasing, but we're still going to have all of these negative effects on our crops and on the whole ecosystem. 

By the way, going back to just how challenging it is to get a clear understanding of what's happening here, I meant to bring this up before, but there is a publication bias. You know, when my wife was trying to gather a lot of data and previous research for her thesis for her master's program, she came across this and it was really frustrating. Some people call it the file drawer problem. And it's the fact that most journals don't want to publish your article unless you found something statistically significant. 

So you can do all of this research and it might show that there's nothing statistically significant. For example, let's say you're studying insect populations and you might have a hypothesis that they've been declining or that they've been increasing. And yet the data comes back and shows you that nothing has really changed. Nobody really cares about that. And so that's why they call it the file drawer problem. It doesn't get published. It just gets shoved into a file drawer. The problem is that you can then have 300 studies that didn't find anything statistically significant, and nobody ever sees those. And you have one that does, and that's what everyone sees.

So sometimes we get a biased perception of what's actually happening, and it's not anything malicious. There's no malintent. It's just kind of the way our system works. 

Kory: [00:25:43] Right, yeah. If I Google the words, "insect decline", I'm going to find all of the articles that are telling me insects are declining, but some of the further research that we've done has shown us that in some places it's the opposite. But like you said, because of how crazy complex this all is, we could replace the biomass of bees with the biomass of increasing cockroaches. So bees go extinct, but we increased the cockroach amount. We haven't changed the biomass or maybe the biomass has increased, but we've lost our pollinators. Right. And that has a huge effect. And I think all of this just really goes to show that in the future, we may never have a really clear picture of what problems face us when it comes to insect populations. You know, we could have a major bread basket failure in Europe with a severe famine that affects populations worldwide. And it could have all been caused because of the decline in a species of insect that we haven't even named yet. 

And because of the intricate web, you know, of the ecosystem and the food chain that could have been what caused the decrease in yields to a point where there was a failure. And so to us, all we see is the consequences, but we don't really get to see the exact reason why. It's going to be really hard to say, oh, well, it's because there was a 78% decrease in bug X that this happened.

And that's frustrating, right? Especially for a guy like me, I really like numbers. I like to be able to see that it says we're having a 1% decrease per year and be able to count on that. But I think that in this case, I don't get that luxury. Instead, we can look at what the stressors are and say, it's pretty obvious that climate change is getting worse. Land usage change is intensifying with increased deforestation, with increased urban sprawl with increased agriculture. We're using more and more fertilizers, not less. There's going to be more light pollution, more chemical pollution, more sound pollution. These problems are going to get worse. And in many cases, especially with climate change, exponentially so. so that estimated one to 2% decline per year is probably not going to remain at that. And the consequences of, of what that means for different regions, different locations, because of the loss of specific different insect species is yet to be seen. 

Kellan: [00:27:56] Yeah and to your point, although some of these changes in insect population can have a huge impact on us, it's not always a direct impact. If a certain type of pesticide kills a bunch of grubs in one area, and those normally support a certain bird population and that bird population is what keeps another insect population under control. Right? And you get all these layers and all of a sudden we've got crops failing, but we can't necessarily point it all the way back to that original cause. 

However, in other cases, Where there aren't quite so many steps. We can see some really alarming things. Like we know that bees play a huge part in the pollination of our food crops. And in certain areas we've seen a big decrease in bees. 

so it's a complex topic, but I think you bring up a really good point, which is that it's clear that the climate is being impacted and that we are having disruptions on ecosystems. And there's no way that all of that can continue without it having an effect on the insect population. And there's no way that the insect population can be affected without us in turn being impacted. 

Kory: [00:29:01] Yeah. I think that's really well said. You know, to kind of end this and this is obviously totally anecdotal, but it's just kind of sad for me. I feel like growing up there was just so much more insect life around even just, you know, in your own backyard. And maybe this is because I'm not a kid anymore out exploring, digging in the dirt and finding all these bugs, but it just feels like I used to be able to go outside and there would just be butterflies everywhere. Right? I could look out my window and probably see a butterfly somewhere flying around or, you know, praying mantises on the walls, caterpillars on the sidewalk.

And now it's like, I get ants that come in my house and there's wasps building nests in the eaves. But beyond that, it feels like there's just so much less. And I've seen a lot of anecdotal thoughts like that, you know, on the subreddit , people who are actually really involved in butterfly conservation or in beekeeping, you know, and they're saying I've never had this happen this year. Like four of my five hives all died or, you know, we've seen a marked decrease in the number of monarchs in our backyard during their migratory period. 

There's so much anecdotal evidence that it seems like it is happening, but then you hear, you know, some of these research papers that say the biomass hasn't really changed in north America. 

Kellan: [00:30:18] Yeah, and it's funny because I think for most of us, the idea of less bugs in our life sounds great. Obviously seeing beautiful butterflies and getting to examine these fascinating praying mantises. You know, I remember I grew up when I was little, I lived in Alabama, and at night there were fireflies and they were so magical. And yet on the other hand, mosquitoes, cockroaches, all these bugs that really drive us crazy, as much as we may not like them, they're still just as necessary to the sustaining of our ecosystem.

And so if I'm commuting somewhere. And normally on this drive, I always have to clean off my windshield because he gets splattered with bugs. And now I don't have to do that because the insect population is decreasing. That might seem great. And while that one little nuisance has been removed from my life, indirectly, it might be causing a huge problem for society. So I think it's a topic that's worth being aware of. I'm glad we've covered it. It's been fascinating doing the research.

And it's made me definitely more convinced that this plays a major part in this larger conversation around collapse. 

Kory: [00:31:21] And I'm really excited to bring this topic up again later and talk more about it. As I mentioned, I think it'd be really great to get into some specific species that we do know a lot about. Just as one example, you know, I brought up Monarch butterflies. A couple of decades ago. There were over a million Monarch butterflies that would migrate every year in the U S and it's believed that they've gotten down as low as around 20,000, so a very dramatic decrease. When it comes to things like bees, you know, I really am just excited to hash that out and get into a little further about some of the specifics, but like you said, this has been really awesome. It's been a fascinating topic to do research on and as much as, Kellan I'm sure you'd like to never have to deal with cockroaches in your frosted flakes again. I think we can all agree that we're willing to sacrifice a little bit to keep our ecosystems and biodiversity alive.

Kellan: [00:32:06] Great. So for those of you listening, please become a patron. Our Patreon link is in the episode description. Please subscribe. Please leave us a review. We appreciate the support. And we'll see you next week. .