Silent Earth by Dave Goulson [7/10]

Brilliant, prolific biologist Dave Goulson, one of the key scientists exploring the decline of bees, now turns to the general case of insects in “Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse.” This highly readable book is an unusual mix of general overview of insects, fascinating snippets, systematic discourse on the threats that have hammered insect populations over the last decades, and love poem to his beloved six-legged Earthly residents. That combination should flounder but doesn’t, due to Goulson’s strong grip on the narrative. I cannot say Silent Earth offers much optimism, despite closing chapters that outline “what we can do,” because the litany of evidence he presents is damning indeed. A curious hypothetical chapter, “A view from the future,” says it all: we, the human beings on this planet, are undoubtedly sending insect populations into a spiraling decline towards extinction. As insects are a bedrock of the panoply of living things, this should strike fear in our hearts. I finished the book better educated but despondent. Despite that, I recommend Silent Earth as part of the armory of information one needs to face the climate crisis.

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