(Image: Unsplash/Anqi Lu)

Well I was wrong. Two days ago, there was a news story suggesting that the world’s system of insect populations was heading for collapse. I thought that it would disappear by next week. It has disappeared already. To a degree, that’s understandable. C Northcote Parkinson, inventor of Parkinson’s Law,* noted a corollary: an issue will be discussed in inverse proportion to its importance.

Approving a new nuclear reactor will be waved through, Parkinson noted, because it is simply too big for anyone to venture an opinion on. Managing the tea and coffee money will then attract endless discussion, because everyone has views. Parkinson, writing in the 1950s, had the luxury of being flippant. Now we’re talking about the systems that underlie the capacity of human life on the planet.