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Keith Tse

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Insects

I was having a drink in the pub this evening, as it had been a long and tiring day at work and I badly needed a breather. Characteristically British, there were a couple of lads (Scottish, I think, judging from their accent) who were already quite pissed and were fooling around in a jovial non-threatening way. They started chatting to me, and I was fine with it, since drunk though they may have been, they seemed perfectly friendly and sociable and well within the bounds of self-restraint. We talked about a lot of things, mainly useless chatter but very relaxing, which was what I needed at the end of a long day. There were a lot of insects around the pub bench, mostly mosquitos flying around, as it was still bright and fresh before dusk (I think we are still just about in the summer season, though things will turn for the worse pretty soon…), and they were really bugging me (no pun intended). I hate insects, and I don’t think I am alone here. In fact, I reckon the opposite, namely those who like insects, are the odd ones out. I began waving my hand in hopes of turning the flies away, and I was also tempted to just slap my hand on them and put them out of their misery. The two lads, however, stopped me, not because they liked insects, I don’t think- in fact, they seemed as much annoyed by the flies as I was, but because they told me that insects were the protectors of the planet and were much more important than us humans. It was a fun comparison, and it got me thinking. I agree that insects, plants and animals probably do a lot more in terms of the maintenance of our planet than we humans do, as they are the ones that pollinate the flowers, spread the seeds, nourish the land etc. The ecological cycle would immediately collapse if all non-human species were to go extinct, and our planet would be totally unlivable, which would mean human mass extinction. In this sense, our existence is quite dependent on these small living beings. Yet what do we humans do for them in return? Aren’t we the exact reverse when our mass consumerism, especially in the modern technological age, is the principle cause for global warming, environmental pollution and natural destruction? We must have all seen pictures and videos of people fishing out plastic bottles from the ocean or tracing acres of dead soil that used to be a big forest. Looks like insects contribute a lot more to our planet home than we do. I therefore refrained from killing the flies and shall think twice before landing my hand on them again, not because I like them, but because we seem to need and depend on them. Funny paradox.

#biology #nature #science

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London, United Kingdom