During the six months that have elapsed since the first issue of Cultural Entomology Digest, I have witnessed a heartening positive trend in public awareness of environmental issues. Not only do I see a continuation of interest, but the steady growth and acceptance of some elementary building blocks toward major reform. These building blocks include recycling awareness and the knowledge that the consumer holds massive power within their purchasing decisions. These building blocks might form the foundations for a quantum leap in understanding which would eventually manifest itself in an internationally held belief that humans are simply one biological entity within an extremely delicate yet misleadingly resilient global ecosystem. Individuals, leaders, and nations, would put their existence in perspective and all actions and decisions would be made with this humbling belief in mind.
Arguably, nations who hold excessive wealth are going to think about idyllic concepts long before nations struggling to meet the simplest of human needs. Yet as we are starting to witness, the more mature phases of environment awareness makes available constructive solutions and assistance to poorer nations, slowly disseminating the importance of environmental consciousness.
This issue is comprised of three original articles by members of our loose consortium (Yves Cambefort, Victoria Rivers, and Phillip Weinstein) whom I wish to extend my sincere gratitude for their contributions. I hope these articles will be of inspiration for other members who hold and might want to share their own fascinating snippets of cultural entomological discoveries.
Beetles have fostered an interest, almost as profound in magnitude, as butterflies and moths. Their fabulous diversity of form, coloration and lifestyles have caused numerous individuals to focus their interests on this order. With one quarter of a million species representing two fifths of all described insects, beetles are truly inspiration in a purely biological sense. Most people have been exposed to the importance of beetles within ancient Egyptian culture but Yves Cambefort’s paper, Beetles as a Religious Symbol, and Victoria Rivers’ paper,An Overview of Beetle Elytra in Textiles and Ornament, illustrate the symbolism of beetles in various forms of human culture from long before the Egyptians to the present. From food to jewelry, worship to games, and novels to painting, beetles are found in virtually every aspect of human culture. I hope this issue to be the first of many that exposes this plethora of subjects.
I wish to thank the ten people who to date have kindly provided financial contribution: Dr. R.H. Cherry, Dr. Gene DeFoliart, Mr. Joseph I. Evans, Robert Jackson, Charles W. Johnson, Jr., Alan L. Leach, Dr. James W. Mertins, Jun Mitsuhashi, Mollie Mondoux, and Victoria Z. Rivers.
MANTIS WILDLIFE FILMS
I would like to give recognition to Densey Clyne and Jim Frazier of (Mantis Wildlife Films – Australia) for their fabulous documentary production “Webs of Intrigue,” broadcast as a National Geographic Explorer special last year. Densey has been introducing insects to children and the general public for many years and continues to explore the potential of insect through entertainment.