Sometimes I think we forget how interconnected we are as humans and as part of our larger world.
In school we learn about the food chain but sadly I think what resonates with most students is that humans are on top and not how dependent we actually are on everything below us on the chain.
That sadly has translated into a careless disregard for all the species (animals and plants) which join humans on the chain and not only feed us but provide us all with life.
The KEY word in food chain is chain; everything is linked and vital to the success of all links in the chain. When we remove entire species we upset the delicate balance which was carefully designed to support all life on the chain.
What I took away from the food chain biology lesson was the vital role the dung beetle plays in all of our lives.
First I had to stop giggling at the fact that this insect eats poo!!! Really its whole existence is around eating large animal’s dung.
In doing so they can quickly dispose of dung pads – it can take as little as a few hours. This removes the breeding ground for flies and midges and thus reduces the occurrence of the diseases that they spread. These incredible creatures also roll their food-“dung take away balls” and bury it for sustenance and as a home for their larvae.
Dung beetles can roll balls up to 50 times their weight this is like an average person pulling 6 double decker buses filled with people.
Their simple life of poo rolling and eating benefits us in many ways. By burying the dung they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help the soil retain moisture for planting, provide nutrients to the soil, aerate the soil and provide better retention of water for crops.
In a nutshell, Dung beetles improve the soil-which improves the crops-which are our food.
All life is connected in this way by long strings or chains of interdependence. Our role as humans at the top of that chain is to understand and protect the entire life chain.
Think about how your actions are contributing to maintaining or destroying the food/life chain