AFTER Silent Spring, Britain now faces the silent summer. Fifty years after Rachel Carson’s seminal book about humanity’s impact on nature, Sir David Attenborough has warned that Britain’s wildlife could be on the edge of the next great environmental disaster.
He has written the foreword to a new book, Silent Summer, in which 40 leading British ecologists detail how factors such as pesticides, population growth and intensive farming are destroying the plants, insects and animals on which the rest of the country’s wildlife depends.
The book describes the decline of 75% of butterfly species, the near disappearance of many moths and similar reverses for bees, flies and snails.
Attenborough warns that such organisms make up the foundations of Britain’s ecosystems. “We tend to focus on the bigger animals and ignore the smaller ones — but small creatures like these are the basis of our entire ecosystems and they are disappearing faster than ever. That loss is transforming our wildlife and countryside,” he said.