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We previously noted that the swarms were catalyzed by the warming of the Indian Ocean, which in turn caused heavier rains and bigger storms which could provide ideal breeding conditions for the locusts. That, combined with the lack of containment measures taken, created a perfect storm for these crop-decimating swarms to go unchecked.
Little Relief For Farmers: Despite the already-immense damage the locusts have caused to farmlands, insurance companies in India refuse to compensate farmers for these losses because Prime Minister Modi has not yet declared locust attacks a natural disaster. On Sunday, the opposition party demanded that the government do so, in order for farmers to be able to recoup losses. While some states have passed certain relief measures, the compensation is often insufficient.
In the absence of an emergency declaration, farmers have been encouraged by the government to clap plates together to protect their crops from locusts swarms–a measure that provides little protection against millions of swarming insects.
The Traveling Swarms: India is not the only country in South Asia facing the swarms. Indeed, Pakistan has declared a national emergency, as the locusts have already devastated the country’s economy and food systems. As The Guardian reported, this is Pakistan’s “worst plague of locusts in recent history.” The swarms have decimated billions of dollars of crops, inducing fears about food insecurity in the region long-term.
As NPR explained, locusts are ravenous eaters. An adult desert locust that weighs about 2 grams (a fraction of an ounce) can consume roughly its own weight daily. And they’re not picky at all.
According to the FAO, a swarm of just 1 square kilometer — again, about a third of a square mile — can consume as much food as would be eaten by 35,000 people (or six elephants) in a single day.
Countries already struggling with food insecurity are especially vulnerable to these swarms.
Approximately 2.1 million acres of intact grassland habitat in the U.S. and Canadian Great Plains were plowed under for row-crop production in 2018, according to World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) 2020 Plowprint Report. This means that from 2014-2018, tillage of grasslands across the Great Plains occurred at an average rate of four football fields every minute. […]
By Sherri Goodman and Leah Emanuel On June 26, President Trump issued an executive order demanding the prosecution of “anarchists and left-wing extremists” destroying and defacing American monuments. Asserting that it is the role of the Federal Government to protect federal monuments, memorials, statues, and property to their fullest extent, the order proclaims that Federal, […]
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