image: locusts compete with farmers
A startling scenario of the annihilation of the human race has crept out quietly early one morning this week on BBC Radio4’s Farming Today programme.
The programme interviews a scientist from Pennsylvania State University who uses fossil records from the time of the dinosaurs to build a break picture of our future survival. Insects and climate change are to blame.
Fossil records from around 55 million years ago apparently show a sudden increase in CO2 concentrations within the atmosphere and a corresponding explosion in insect activity.
Within 5000 years the earth’s atmosphere warms by around 5 degrees C. At the same time insects normally found in the tropical zones start advancing northward and south away from the equator. They are having to eat more plant matter per insect too. The reason for this is that increased CO2 causes less nitrogen uptake by the plants which makes the plants less nutritious to the insects.
To keep up their levels of nutrition each insect must eat more plant matter. The problem for the dinosaurs in this scenario is that they find themselves with less and less plant matter to eat themselves. Eventually they starve to death.
The scientist believes this can happen to us too.
Right now the UK is suffering from a strange plague of ladybirds. [cue the music of Tales of the Unexpected/Twilight Zone].