Science

Tiny beetle stands up against climate change

Source: Pixabay

By Christina Fowler

I’m sure you have all heard of climate activist Greta Thunberg, most famously known for calling-out the human race in their destruction of the plane. Recently, scientists at the Natural History Museum have honoured her by naming a beetle after her. The insect has been called Nelloptodes gretae and was first discovered in 1965 by Dr William Black whilst in Nairobi, Kenya before it was donated to the museum in 1978. The golden-coloured arthropod is a member of the Ptiliidae family containing the world’s smallest beetles. Being only 1mm long, it is too small to even have eyes! The Natural History Museum tweeted at the time of announcement, saying “you are never too small to make a difference”, an obvious praise to Greta’s never-ending advocacy for climate action. Greta was initially recognised for missing school every Friday to protest the lack of change from the Swedish government to help slow climate change. 

Dr Max Barclay discovered the, previously nameless, beetle amongst Dr Black’s donated collection whilst studying the range of insects donated. He chose to honour Greta Thunberg as “it is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time, before scientists have even named them, because of biodiversity loss”. Biodiversity is essential for the homeostasis and balance of our ever-changing planet. Greta’s push for a radical change in the way we use the environment will not only slow global warming but will also aid in biodiversity of the planet, some say.

Many news articles are also highlighting the likeness of the beetle’s long antennae to Greta’s signature plaits. These have recently been ridiculed by a small but loud proportion of the population, who compared her to Nazi propaganda. This came a week after she organised a global strike for climate change, where 150 countries took part in over 5,000 events.

After another recent barrage of hate, Greta released a video explaining the ‘Greta Thunberg Helpline’ – a helpline dedicated to adults who get irrationally angry at children. This came after President Donald Trump shared a video of her speaking at the UN climate action summit, which she travelled to by boat to reduce her carbon footprint, in which he called her a “happy, young girl” as she tore-down world leaders for not doing enough in the face of climate change.

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