With over 40 per cent of insect species at risk of extinction and a third more endangered, our planet is headed towards ‘insectageddon’ – a catastrophic loss of life that would have global ramifications. In Rebugging the Planet, environmental campaigner Vicki Hird demonstrates how insects and other invertebrates, such as worms and spiders, are the cornerstone of our ecosystems and argues passionately that we must turn the tide on this dramatic bug decline.
Apart from being responsible for pollinating plants, feeding birds, supporting and defending crops and cleaning water systems, bugs are also beautiful, inventive and economically invaluable. By rebugging our own attitudes and embracing these brilliant, essential minibeasts, we can give them the space and habitats they need in order to flourish.
Vicki Hird is Head of the Sustainable Farming Campaign for Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming, and she also runs an independent consultancy. An experienced and award-winning environmental campaigner, researcher, writer and strategist working mainly in the food, farming and environmental policy arenas, Vicki has worked on government policy for many years and is the author of Perfectly Safe to Eat?: The Facts on Food.
Vicki’s passion is insects. The first pets she gave her children were a family of stick insects, and she received a giraffe-necked weevil tattoo for her 50th birthday. Vicki has a masters in pest management and is a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (FRES).
"This is a lovely little book that could and should have a big impact. The decline of insect life in the UK and globally is one of the biggest concerns of our biodiversity crisis. We often feel so helpless about nature loss, so it's hugely inspiring to find out that there is something we can actually do about it. Let's all get rebugging right away!"
– Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster
"A bold and educational call to action and call to arms in one of the most crucial challenges facing society – halting the dreadful destruction of the amazingly little animals we call invertebrates or bugs. Time to get rebugging!"
– Matt Shardlow, author and chief executive of Buglife, The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
"Everyone should read Vicki's delightful bug book! She's been a committed environmentalist and campaigner for nature ever since the 1980s, when I first met her. Like me, she's a Londoner, but unlike me, she's realised that her lifelong fascination for nature in general and insects in particular can be explored in an urban setting. Her passion for bugs is palpable and wonderfully illuminated through individual bug stories, which makes this book totally accessible. Vicki has done a service to the planet and the insects we share it with."
– Patrick Holden, CBE organic farmer, and founding director and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust
"What a fantastic, timely and important book! For too long, our society has taken bugs for granted when in reality they represent the very foundations of our food system, our economy, our civilisation. With her well-researched but personable and highly readable writing style, Vicki Hird offers an engaging and hopeful narrative about what we can and must do to make insects matter, and reverse the appalling declines in insect populations that have taken place these last few years. In doing so, she doesn't just stick with the easy stuff like what needs to happen in your garden or local park – much as she covers this brilliantly. She also tackles the need for system level change; in agriculture, in politics, in the economy, in culture, if we're going to succeed in rebugging the planet – all while gaining fascinating insights from the remarkable world of insects."
– Craig Bennett, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts
"Rebugging the Planet is a joyous and impassioned song to the insect life on which we all depend. Brimming with wisdom but accessibly written, it is a call to arms to avert Insectaggedon. Without bugs, we're in deep trouble!"
– Guy Shrubsole, environmental campaigner and author of Who Owns England?
"A passionate, accessible, and in-depth introduction to the wonderful world of 'bugs'. Packed with eye-opening facts and leaving not a stone unturned in her efforts to understand and explain the causes of their decline, Vicki inspires each and every one of us to re-evaluate our relationship with these magnificent minibeasts. Whoever we are, whatever our circumstances, there is always more that we can do to help if we only knew how. This book provides us with the tools and advice we need to 'rebug' our gardens, our lives and our world."
– Brigit Strawbridge Howard, author of Dancing with Bees
"Hird's joy in bug life is infectious and her knowledge encyclopaedic. I defy even the most bug-phobic reader not to finish Hird's book without, if not sharing her love of them, at least joining in her admiration. Bugs are essential to a thriving natural world, and indeed to our own future on this planet, yet they're under threat like never before. If you've ever asked what bugs have done for us, read this book – and then join the movement to protect them!"
– Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP
"In 1987 E.O. Wilson told us that 'bugs' were the little things that run the world. We didn't listen and instead have forced millions of species of these essential creatures to the brink of extinction. Just in time, Vicki Hird tells us how and why we need to change our cultural relationship with 'bugs' and reverse these disastrous declines. Despite the serious nature of this subject matter, Rebugging the Planet is a light-hearted and delightful read."
– Douglas W. Tallamy, author of Nature's Best Hope
"This book is a delightful exploration into the world of 'bugs' – broadly defined to include insects, spiders, centipedes, and even snails – replete with creative use of words like 'rebug', 'rewild', 'insectageddon', 'invertosphere', 'entomophage' (the practice of eating bugs) and 'fog basking' by the Namib beetle to obtain water. Full of colourful stories about specific novel species like the cockchafer, the hummingbird hawkmoth and money spiders, it is also a call to action to do everything we can to stop the modern assault on bugs. The author shows how so many aspects of modern life – chemical-based agriculture, EMFs, plastics and forever chemicals – are forcing many species into extinction, but she also warns that we will come to appreciate what bugs do for us best when we see the carnage left behind when they are gone."
– Stephanie Seneff, author of Toxic Legacy
"Brimming with tips and tools, this [book] is sure to leave nature-lovers inspired."
– Publishers Weekly