GOOD

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
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change means our future is uncertain, but in the meantime, it's telling us a lot about our past. The Earth's glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, but as the ice dwindles, ancient artifacts are being uncovered. The Secrets of the Ice project has been surveying the glaciers on Norway's highest mountains in Oppland since 2011. They have found a slew of treasures, frozen in time and ice, making glacier archeologists, as Lars Pilø, co-director of Secrets of the Ice, put it when talking to CNN, the "unlikely beneficiaries of global warming."

Instead of digging, glacier archeologists survey the areas of melting ice, seeing which artifacts have been revealed by the thaw. "It's a very different world from regular archaeological sites," Pilø told National Geographic. "It's really rewarding work.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture