Global insect decline is the result of wilful political failure. Good
work on the ground means not all is lost.
1. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed ecosystem change, human
well-being and scientific evidence for sustainable use of biological
systems. Despite intergovernmental acknowledgement of the problem,
global ecological decline has continued, including declines in insect
biodiversity, which has received much media attention in recent years.
2. Several roadmaps to averting biological declines have failed, due to
various economic and political factors, and so biodiversity loss
continues, driven by several interacting human pressures. Humans are
innately linked with nature but tend to take it for granted. The
benefits we gain from the insect world are broad, yet aversion or
phobias of invertebrates are common, and stand firmly in the path of
their successful conservation. 3. Providing an integrated synthesis for
policy teams, conservation NGOs, academic researchers and those
interested in public engagement, this article considers: (1) the lack of
progress to preserve and protect insects. (2) Examples relating to
insect decline and contributions insects make to people worldwide, and
consequently what we stand to lose. (3) How to engage the public,
governmental organisations and researchers through “insect
contributions to people” to better address insect declines. 4.
International political will has consistently acknowledged the existence
of biodiversity decline, but apart from a few narrow cases of
charismatic megafauna, little meaningful change has been achieved.
Public values are reflected in political willpower, the progress being
made across the world changing views on insects in the public should
initiate a much-needed political sea-change, but only if we as
entomologists enormously expand our engagement efforts.