The polar bear has become the poster child for climate change. Just picture one of the furry white giants struggling to hang on to a melting ice cap and it’s clear why a fast-warming planet is a bad thing.
But increasing temperatures and rising sea levels impact many forms of life that rarely come up in discussions about the changing environment. That is why May Berenbaum would like us to also be talking about ice crawlers, a family of tiny, wingless insects that live on top of mountains and on the edges of glaciers.
“They depend on these cold, extreme habitats,” said Berenbaum, head of the Entomology Department at the University of Illinois and one of the world’s leading insect experts. “They don’t make great posters for victims of climate change, but they are in great danger.”
On Thursday, Berenbaum will visit Lincoln Park’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to lead a public discussion about the importance of pollinators and the growing body of research pointing to the rapid decline of some insect species, a trend that has been labeled the “insect apocalypse.”