What Will Replace Insects When They’re Gone?

Oliver Milman in WIRED:

WHAT, THOUGH, IF we don’t act quickly enough? If the fall of insects’ tiny empires causes whole ecosystems to unravel, toppling previously solid certainties about the way our world functions, what then? It’s easy to foresee how diminishing supplies of certain foods and crashing wildlife populations will heap cascading suffering on the poor and vulnerable, given the lopsided nature of societies, and perhaps even stoke embers of resentment and nationalism as foundational resources become scarcer. It’s also reasonable to anticipate that we will reflexively grasp for a technological fix to the mess we’ve created.

Expectation is already being ladled upon projects, still in their infancy, to create genetically modified pollinators resistant to disease and chemicals or to fashion machines topped with tiny cannons that fire pollen at plants and therefore address some of the causes of the climate collapse. Other scientists have turned their ingenuity to replicating the form and function of winged insects—​researchers at Harvard University have devised diminutive robots that can swim before exploding out of the water into flight,

More here.