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What are wasps for?

There was a post on the Self-Isolating Bird Club Facebook page which asked the question “What are wasps for?” It’s a question I have asked myself along with “What are ants / slugs / snails for?”

One person gave quite a full answer describing how wasps help pollination of our crops, trees and other plants. His answer went on “they play a vital role in protecting gardens and farm crops by controlling pest populations. They capture and consume insects such as flies, caterpillars and beetle larvae, and without wasps the world would be overrun with spiders and insects. They are very important in keeping the ecosystem balanced”

So, believe it or not, wasps do more good than harm, but I’m not sure that the person who posed the question was expecting such a long and technical answer.

The discussion then went on to the damage that would be caused to the world if wasps were eliminated, and of course people joined in with the “what if spiders / slugs / snails etc. were no longer present on the earth”.

It was all very interesting but what really struck me was that every creature has its place and its part to play and without one of these creatures something wouldn’t be right, something wouldn’t work.

The conversation then changed as it was stated that the only creature whose absence from the world would be of benefit and not harm was the human.

In a small way while we have been in lock down in many places across the world nature has revived and taken back some of its habitat. Plants and flowers have flourished as verges have not been cut (except in Sefton) and wild flowers have grown which encourage insects which attract bird life back to an area and the birds help to spread the flower seeds.

Air pollution has been greatly reduced in some countries and places in India have seen Mount Everest from their villages for the first time simply because the air is cleaner. Bears, mountain lions, elephants, rhinos and wolves have been seen walking through areas that were once their habitat but are now areas taken over by humans; walking through gardens and along roads holding up what little traffic there is. And even in this country geese, swans and ducks have been seen walking across main roads where once there was traffic. Foxes are being seen more in our countryside along with other secretive, shy animals.

Animals don’t leave litter behind them, they don’t cover places with graffiti and they don’t vandalise properties; they don’t turn the heating up instead of putting on an extra layer, that’s all worked out for them in nature. They don’t play any part in the plastic problem we have at the moment, rather they are hurt or killed by the laziness of humans.

I saw a picture this morning of a young Gull whose legs were caught up in the string from a facemask. Thankfully he was caught and the mask cut away from his feet so that he could once again walk. But couldn’t that mask have been disposed of safely?

Are we not called to care for the world? Not just the people on it – and we don’t do a good job of that either, but all creatures, the countryside, hills and mountains the rocks and cliffs. The whole earth.

I love the John Rutter version of this hymn –

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love
Which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Over and around us lies
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale
And tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light
Sun and moon and stars of light
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth
And friends above
For all gentle
Thoughts and mild
For all gentle
Thoughts and mild
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

For each perfect gift of thine
To our race so freely given
Graces human and divine
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise

Jane

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