For the Love of Bugs

Can we override our cultural fear of creepy crawlies—and start protecting them?

March 06, 2015

“Insects matter, and our choice to appreciate or revile them can decide their fate. ‘They’re the ones who clean up the carcasses and deal with the coyote poop,’ says Matthew Shepherd, communications director for the Xerces Society, an invertebrate conservation organization. Insects provide protein for many of the furred and feathered charmers we love. They pollinate our food crops and provide materials ranging from silk to cochineal to honey. ‘They’re the backbone,’ Shepherd says. ‘Well, that’s not quite right, is it? They don’t have a skeleton—they’re the underlying thing holding it all together.’ Yet for all their abundance (over 95 percent of all animal species), invertebrates garner around 10 percent of conservation funding.”

From “Insectophilia,” Andrea Appleton's Aeon magazine piece about Western society's revulsion for all things six-legged, and why that needs to change.

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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