For those of us who are lucky enough to live in, or visit the countryside, there is no doubt that the number and variety of insects has diminished dramatically over the past years. For instance, I can remember having to scrape the hordes of dead bodies from my car windscreen and lights every few days in the 1970’s, the numbers of insects about being so very high.
Now days, however, you hardly notice them, and even when walking the fields you see and hear so very few. Only the other day I was walking through a wheat field and hardly saw anything fly past and certainly nothing crawling along the path.
Of course, this has all to do with our modern way of life and the desire to have unblemished fruit and vegetables (sometimes when I view that perfect lettuce, I cannot imagine that anything ever walked upon it, let alone tried to eat it). This desire (as well as the need to grow as much as possible, both because of demand and the need to make more profit) has in turn led to a huge increase in (even more deadly and effective) insecticides, which naturally (excuse the pun) has had a dramatic impact on insect numbers. Besides this the insect has also to contend with climate change, the way that land is now being farmed and other reasons for loss of habitat.
Whilst this may seem not to matter, the long term effects of reduced insects could be catastrophic. The food chain and the way the planet works being totally disrupted, “they are the little things that run the world” according to one eminent biologist.
The High Street is in Decline Too
But insects are not the only thing in decline in the modern world, the other one that has been making (the bigger) headlines being the decline of the high street.
Now there are many reasons why the high street is suffering at the moment, the BBC listing 6 of them in its’ new article published in March 2018. These include the fact that people in the UK have less disposable income because pay growth has been lower than inflation. Another good reason is the recent hike in Business Rates. However, the area I am most interested in is that of the competition that the high street faces from Online Retailers.
The Rise and Rise of Internet Shopping
The Internet dominates our lives today, we use it to chat (on social media), to exchange information (using email), to view entertainment programmes via the many streaming services, plus of course more and more people are purchasing their goods online as it is easier, simpler and in most cases cheaper than buying from a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop.
Being An Online Marketing Consultant
This makes me a little bit sad, as for the last 18 years, I through my work as an Online Marketing Consultant (specialising in Search Engine Optimisation and Adwords) I have been contributing, in my own little way, to this decline. It does not cause me to want to stop, as I am after all fulfilling a need my customers have, but it does make me sad.
There is however, as in the case of the decline in the number of insects, little that I can do to stop these changes, and here I can only hope that some great man or women, will step forward and take the necessary actions, before it is too late.
When it comes to the insect population issue, the answer will not be easy to find, especially with the continuing increase in the human population of the world, but it is not a problem that can be ignored forever…
The same is the case with the decline of the high street, but here there are already a number of ideas being floated, these including reducing the level of business rates, whilst at the same time increasing the level of taxes on online purchases; this being an attempt to level the playing field a little when it comes to the costs of operating a retail business.
Others include making the shopping process more enjoyable by ‘engaging’ more with the potential customer and having other entertainments available, plus of course to make parking, or the means to get to the shops (via Park and Ride schemes) easier. Here, what amazes me is the lack of any form of transportation to get heavy items back to the car park, it is after all not that easy to carry a bulky heavy object back to your car. This is something else that drives people to shop online, where delivery to your home is built it.
One idea could be to have shops that hold no stock and where you can only look at the goods you are interested in, perhaps also trying on clothes, shoes and the like. Orders would be placed with the ‘shop’ with the goods being delivered the next day (as Amazon do today). The shop could be shared by a number of businesses if wanted, thereby keeping their costs down, whilst, and this is the important bit maintaining a presence on the High Street.
Maybe it is an idea that will catch on, who knows, but like the issue with our insect friends, it is something that cannot be ignored forever.