The lights are about to go out on fireflies, but we can stop it

Unsplash

Fireflies were as ubiquitous in the summer night sky as stars. Now the insects are facing extinction, and yes, humans are to blame.

Of the nearly 2,000 species of fireflies across the world, 200 are found in the U.S. However, many of those that were once common have now disappeared. There are two main reasons why these insects are on the decline: light pollution and development. On top of that, pesticides, weed killers, and logging have also played a role in the species' disappearance.

The marshes and meadows that were once lit up by the bioluminescent bug are slowly disappearing thanks to increasing development of the environment they call home. "The problem is that in America and throughout the world, our open fields and forests are being paved over, and our waterways are seeing more development and noisy boat traffic. As their habitat disappears under housing and commercial developments, firefly numbers dwindle," according to Firefly Research and Conservation.


RELATED: Biologist repopulated rare butterfly species in his backyard all by himself

Because fireflies rely on their bioluminescence for reproduction, artificial light pollution has been detrimental to their population. Male fireflies attract mates through the familiar glow that gives them their name, and in order to do this successfully, darkness is required. "We believe the fireflies' mating can be interfered with by too much light around their population," Christopher Heckscher, an entomologist at Delaware State University, told USA Today.

The fact that fireflies are dying out should be a big concern because it's an indicator of a much larger issue. "If fireflies are disappearing that means we're losing a lot more than fireflies. They can be an indicator of the quality of the wetlands. As the wetlands go, so go the fireflies" Heckscher said.

RELATED: Historic 3,000-year-old olive tree still producing olives to this day

Once fireflies are gone, they're gone forever. But it's not too late to save them. In order to make sure future generations enjoy fireflies in all the summers to come, we must take action. Turning off outside lights can give fireflies the darkness they need to find a mate. Additionally, if you live near a wetland, keeping taller grass in your yard can give fireflies a place to live. Also, avoid using pesticides and weed killers when taking care of your yard.

Fireflies shouldn't just be something we remember from our childhood, they should be part of our future, too.

The Planet

The Justice Department sent immigration judges a white nationalist blog post

The blog post was from an "anti-immigration hate website."

Attorney General William Barr via Wikimedia Commons

Department of Justice employees were stunned this week when the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a morning briefing that contained a link to a "news" item on VDare, a white nationalist website.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, VDare is an "anti-immigration hate website" that "regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites." The website was established in 1999 by its editor Peter Brimelow.

The morning briefing is distributed to all EOIR employees on a daily basis, including all 440 immigration judges across the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

Keep Reading Show less
Lifestyle

We've all felt lonely at some point in our lives. It's a human experience as universal as happiness, sadness or even hunger. But there's been a growing trend of studies and other evidence suggesting that Americans, and people in general, are feeling more lonely than ever.

It's easy to blame technology and the way our increasingly online lives have further isolated us from "real" human interactions. The Internet once held seemingly limitless promise for bringing us together but seems to be doing just the opposite.

Except that's apparently not true at all. A major study from Cigna on loneliness found that feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise amongst Americans but the numbers are nearly identical amongst those who use social media and those who don't. Perhaps more importantly, the study found five common traits amongst those who don't feel lonely.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
WITI Milwaukee

Joey Grundl, a pizza delivery driver for a Domino's Pizza in Waldo, Wisconsin, is being hailed as a hero for noticing a kidnapped woman's subtle cry for help.

The delivery man was sent to a woman's house to deliver a pie when her ex-boyfriend, Dean Hoffman, opened the door. Grundl looked over his shoulder and saw a middle-aged woman with a black eye standing behind Hoffman. She appeared to be mouthing the words: "Call the police."

"I gave him his pizza and then I noticed behind him was his girlfriend," Grundl told WITI Milwaukee. "She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words, 'Call the police.'"

Keep Reading Show less
Good News