Lucy Mangan

“Why cockroach milk has made me reach breaking point”

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Lucy Mangan
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Now is the time to push back against climate-change deniers, argues Lucy Mangan. 

It’s the cockroach milk that’s finally done it. I wish it had been something more important, more obvious. One of the hurricanes caused by warming seas, perhaps. Or the Karachi heatwave that killed more than 100 people. The reports of ice melting faster than anyone thought underneath Antarctica. The collapse of our bee population or the recent news that Germany’s insect biomass has plummeted by 75% in almost three decades.

But it’s the little things that push you over the edge. And here it is: my breaking point. The advent of cockroach milk into our lives means I am now full of rage towards climate-change deniers. Those people who insist that climate change is a hoax or that mankind is not causing it and can therefore do nothing about it, despite more than 97% of climate scientists and studies agreeing that it is, we are, and we can. Cockroach milk, you see, is 
one of the results of new research on insects to see how we could potentially feed ourselves once the world is reduced to a spinning ball of dust. Crickets will provide our protein, cockroaches our liquid.

Oh brave new world, to have such gustatory pleasures in it.

The collapse of our bee population or the recent news that Germany’s insect biomass has plummeted by 75% in almost three decades

I understand some murderers better than I do climate-change deniers. I can’t get over the idiocy of not harnessing as many free, plentiful, endlessly renewable power sources as we can, even if the process didn’t happen to be a matter of urgency. Wind! Sun! Waves! Pouring down on, roving endlessly over and around the earth, gloriously, abundantly free, forever! And all but a fraction utterly wasted. I don’t get it.

Beyond that, you have to ask: do the deniers think they’re more knowledgeable than people who have made geophysics, marine biology, meteorology and innumerable other branches of specialist science and knowledge their life’s work? Or do they think that such people are more likely to have formed a cabal to fool us all? Why? To what possible end? 

If their opposition is formed by greed – because they are in the pay of oil and mining companies, and so on – I can see that the deep reserves of denial could also allow them to ignore the blood on their hands, but does it blunt the instinct of self-preservation, too? Or do they all imagine that they, somehow, would be immune? That money will create safety? Do they care nothing for their own children as well as everyone else’s? How do you arrive at this toxic mindset, equal parts arrogance, entitlement and lack of imagination?

Is it a coincidence that the loudest deniers always seem to be men? That among all of the friends I talk to about it, it is always the male contingent who, without being wholesale deniers, are least worried and more ready to reject the signs of danger? Must women sort out this sh*t, too?

All questions for a later – though not that much later – date. Until that time comes, we must all push back against this scourge of our age, against those people who will ignore reason and coming harm. That we don’t, more and harder, is a sign of our own stupidity and our own denial in action. But at least ours is in the service of getting through the day without collapsing uselessly in terror at the thought of it all.

Bring me a glass of cockroach milk. Let’s get this over with.

Images: Getty