climate change,  politics

5 things to do to protect Monarch Butterflies

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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.

  1. Plant milkweed!
  2. Support municipal legislation that permits (or even encourages) the spread of wildflowers.
  3. Buy organic food. Herbicide resistent crops allow farmers to remove all the milkweed in their fields thus reducing monarch habitat.
  4. Learn about the problems of illegal logging in the monarchs 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.
  5. Take action on Climate Change. Climate change induced drought is reduces the nectar content of milkweed and dries out monarch eggs.
    • Reduce energy consumption.
    • Lobby for a carbon tax and dividend to promote the switch to carbon-neutral energy sources. (Citizen’s Climate Lobby in Canada and the USA train volunteers on how to effectively lobby for this.)

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.

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  • Ina Warren

    This is one of the most delightful and thoughtful blog posts I’ve ever read. I’ve reposted it widely. Thank you for writing it. I look forward to your subsequent posts.

  • Jacqui Knight

    Great article. Heart-warming to see it. Thanks so much for caring about our beautiful Monarchs.

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