We are living in a period of catastrophic declines in global biodiversity. According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), humans will cause the extinction of approximately one million species in the coming decades. Yet for many, the pervasive and ongoing diminishment of biodiversity is extremely difficult to see or directly experience in daily life, particularly for many species at greatest risk, such as insects. In this talk, Adrienne Ghaly of the University of Virginia explored how this hidden collapse of very small fauna can be made visible through aesthetic modes and media, and she argued for the urgency of expanding popular ecological imaginaries of extinction beyond rhinos, elephants, and whales to include what the American biologist E.O. Wilson termed "the little things that run the world." Michael Scott, director of the Future of the Humanities Project, provided opening and closing remarks, and Kathryn Temple, a Future of the Humanities Project senior fellow, moderated a Q&A session following the presentation.
This event was sponsored by the Future of the Humanities Project; the Georgetown Humanities Initiative; the Georgetown Master's Program in the Engaged and Public Humanities; Campion Hall, Oxford; and the Las Casas Institute (Blackfriars Hall, Oxford). It is part of the one-year-long series A Bent but Beautiful World: Literature, Art, and the Environment.