Monarch caterpillars go wandering before they turn into a pupae, so though we’ve watched over a dozen monarch caterpillars grow to full size in our milkweed patch, we weren’t sure if we would see any butteflies. Finally last week we spotted this beauty, next to our lavender hyssop patch, not quite ready for flight. About an hour after we took this picture he made a very hesitant flight up into a nearby tree and a more confident flight away. Seeing the butterfly close up was inspiration again to think about what we can do to protect this beautiful species.
- Plant milkweed!
- Support municipal legislation that permits (or even encourages) the spread of wildflowers.
- Ensure that people are allowed to have wildflower gardens instead of lawns.
- Leave ditches unmowed and unsprayed so milkweed can grow.
- Buy organic food. Herbicide resistent crops allow farmers to remove all the milkweed in their fields thus reducing monarch habitat.
- Learn about the problems of illegal logging in the monarch‘s winter habitat in Mexico.
- Support indigenous rights worldwide, but for butterflies, particularily in Mexico.
- Challenge economic policies that sustain inequality or rely on the destruction of the environment.
- Before you purchase wood products check if it is ethically sourced wood. Try to reduce wood consumption.
- Take action on Climate Change. Climate change induced drought is reduces the nectar content of milkweed and dries out monarch eggs.
Everything is interconnected. For monarchs to survive we need good trade and economic systems that provide decent livings while making it possible for people to share the environment with the monarchs. Those living near the forests in Mexico need good situations so that there is less incentive to turn to logging. We need to take charge of our food industry so that we do not have large swaths of round-up sprayed monoculture crops where butterflies can find no food or rest. We need to stop subsidizing the industries that increase greenhouse gasses and instead focus on sustainable energy sources while putting adequate money into climate-change adaptation measures so that we can help the areas that are already facing increased droughts and storms. And we need to do this because, among other things, we love the monarch butterflies and want to be able to share them with our children and grandchildren.