Insect Cultural Services: How Insects Have Changed Our Lives and How Can We Do Better for Them
School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Ave, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Joseph R. Coelho
Received: 15 March 2021 / Revised: 19 April 2021 / Accepted: 20 April 2021 / Published: 22 April 2021
Insects—as many other organisms—provide services for our societies, which are essential for our sustainable future. A classic example of an insect service is pollination, without which food production collapses. To date, though, there has often been a generalised misconception about the benefits of insects to our societies, and misunderstandings on how insects have revolutionised our cultures and thus our lives. This misunderstanding likely underpins the general avoidance, disregard for, or even deliberate attempts to exterminate insects from our daily lives. In this Perspective, we provide a different viewpoint, and highlight the key areas in which insects have changed our cultures, from culinary traditions to architecture to fashion and beyond. We then propose a general framework to help portray insects—and their benefits to our societies—under a positive light, and argue that this can help with long-term changes in people’s attitude towards insects. This change will in turn contribute to more appropriate conservation efforts aimed to protect insect biodiversity and the services it provides. Therefore, our ultimate goal in the paper is to raise awareness of the intricate and wonderful cultural relationships between people and insects that are fundamental to our long-term survival in our changing world.