A Highway, but the Cars Are Insects

Highways usually have cars on them––highways often have so many cars, in fact, that they make jam. And it’s not even strawberry jam (which, by all laws of the universe known to man, is the superior type of jam)––it’s the classic traffic jam, the one that involves horn-honking, screaming, mental breakdowns, and naughty words that this school-appropriate newspaper won’t detail. So it’s no surprise that a new conservation project in the UK subverted our expectations when it announced plans to build a network of “wildflower superhighways” across the country.

This project is an initiative taken (by the insect charity Buglife) in response to a problem increasing in magnitude with each passing day: a dearth of biodiverse nature. As construction and transport infrastructure expand, these networks of artificiality threaten the survival of British wildflowers, of which 97% has been lost since the 1930s. The goal of these highways for insects is to “join the dots between fragmented insect habitats and perhaps help, in a small way, to reverse the decline of the UK’s wildflower meadows. ” They will essentially be linking these meadows with routes that pollinators can easily follow.

It’s certainly a costly effort––mapping out the route alone costs £2,500 per county––but in many ways it’s worth it. The first sections of this highway have recently been completed, and they have been a major success. The South Wales line near Cardiff, for instance, has already worked toward increasing biodiversity in its wildflower meadows. Said Paul Hetherington, “Since that was done, there have been recordings of the shrill carder bee – one of our rarest bumblebees – in Cardiff town centre. It hasn’t been seen there for a very long time, it has literally been confined to a few pockets of land around the country, so to have it back in Cardiff, I think shows that this connectivity can work.”

There’s still a long way to go, but as a wise man once said, a good start is half the job done––although, in practice, that’s never actually the case. If you’re solving a twenty-problem math worksheet and you finish question one, are you truly halfway there? No, but then again, I’ve learned not to take these proverbs all too literally. Have a great week, ye who was kind enough to click on this article, and ye who was genuinely interested enough to read the entire thing––I assume that’s no one. Depression! 😀

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