Review: “The Insect Crisis,” by Oliver Milman – nytimes.com
When Did You Last Clean Bug Splatter Off Your Windshield?
It’s probably been awhile — and that’s a problem, Oliver Milman writes in his new book, “The Insect Crisis.”
March 5, 2022
Anyone with a car has gathered data on insect declines. Entomologists call it “the windshield effect,” a relatable metric neatly summed up by a question: When was the last time you had to clean bug splatter from your windshield? This ritual was once an inevitable coda to any long drive. Now, we’re far more likely to watch those same landscapes pass by through unblemished glass, mile after empty mile.
The trend is more than anecdotal. When the ecologist Anders Pape Møller began systematically driving two Danish roads in 1996 and counting the windshield splats, many people dismissed his project as a lark. Twenty years later, the results showed something deadly serious: Collisions with insects had declined 80 percent along the first roadway, and a staggering 97 percent along the second.