THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY- The Latest Victim of Human Intervention

The January 30th edition of NEWSDAY, Long Island’s local newspaper had a small article on page A43,  on the Health & Science page. It was entitled “Fewest Monarchs in Their Winter Habitat”.  Experts say that the regal Monarch Butterfly could become the latest casualty of modern human behaviour.

Each year this amazing creature travels many thousands of miles from areas all over North America to winter in the Pine and Fir forests west of Mexico City. The numbers of individuals making the journey has dropped to it’s lowest levels since record keeping began in 1993. The report detailing the migration says that three factors seem to be  at the root of the decrease in Monarch population.

1-The milkweed,  which is the Monarch’s principal food source is being crowded out of it’s environment by genetically modified crops in the USA.

2- Urban sprawl in many areas of the USA is also destroying the milkweed’s habitat.

3-Extreme weather trends are making it more difficult for both the plants and the butterflies to survive.  Climate change bringing warmer temperatures in summer and drought areas across the western USA,  plus frigid winters in the eastern and southern USA are a major problem.

4-Lastly there has been a dramatic reduction in the Monarch’s natural habitat in Mexico.  Illegal logging in the forests where the butterflies spend the winter has limited the trees the Monarchs depend on for shelter.

For more information on the problem check out this video by Micheal Risinit on the USA TODAY web site.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/08/22/monarch-butterfly-population/2687621/

On the Yale Environment 360 web site, in an article dated April 1, 2013, author Richard Conniff  takes a look at the situation.

“University of Kansas insect ecologist Orley R. “Chip” Taylor has been observing the fragile populations of monarch butterflies for decades, but he says he has never been more concerned about their future. Monarchs are beloved for their spectacular migration across Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico — and back again. But a new census taken at the monarchs’ wintering grounds found their population had declined 59 percent over the previous year and was at the lowest level ever measured.”

I was having a conversation about climate change with a friend about thge dire consequences of man’s actions around the world. Starving drowning Polar Bears are certainly a more dramatic harbinger of the environmental disasters that are headed our way but even the smallest of earth’s creatures are finding it a lot more difficult to survive the changes heading our way.

“In an interview with Yale Environment 360 contributor Richard Conniff, Taylor — founder and director of Monarch Watch, a conservation and outreach program — talked about the factors that have led to the sharp drop in the monarch population. Among them, Taylor said, is the increased planting of genetically modified corn in the U.S. Midwest, which has led to greater use of herbicides, which in turn kills the milkweed that is a prime food source for the butterflies. What we’re seeing here in the United States,” he said, “is a very precipitous decline of monarchs that’s coincident with the adoption of Roundup-ready corn and soybeans.”

Genetically modified crops are in the cross hairs of a hot debate in 2014. People are unhappy that they are not being made aware of their inclusion in many common foods by simple labeling. Overseas several violent demonstrations have been staged against using the seeds of GMO’s.  Though the results of human consumption of these crops is still in the investigative stages,  their use is already having adverse affects on the natural world.

“Now you are really hard pressed to find any corn or soybeans that have milkweed in the fields. I haven’t seen any for years now because of the use of Roundup after they planted these crops. They have effectively eliminated milkweed from almost all of the habitat that monarchs used to use. Now you are really hard pressed to find any corn or soybeans that have milkweed in the fields. I haven’t seen any for years now because of the use of Roundup after they planted these crops. They have effectively eliminated milkweed from almost all of the habitat that monarchs used to use. The developers of these crops not only provided the seeds that were glyphosate-resistant, but they also provided the glyphosate — the Roundup. And, boy, that was a pretty good system. You could make money on both, right?”

And so once again the motive of greater profits is taking another toll on the natural world. In the very near future it is conceivable that the Monarch Butterfly may be a thing of the past. Check out this video posted September 29, 2013 edition of CONSCIOUS LIFE NEWS (http://consciouslifenews.com/monarch-butterfly-population-decreased-80-90-last-year/#)

While above average rainfall in the U.S. this year has increased the number butterflies, the Monarch butterfly population continues to decline. So why are the Monarchs disappearing?  The World Wildlife Fund blames climate conditions and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off the Monarchs’ main food source, milkweed.

The actions of human beings continues to change and endanger the natural world. If the Monarch Butterflies cannot survive,  the question remains who,  and or what,  will be next?

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14 Responses to THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY- The Latest Victim of Human Intervention

  1. Joanne F says:

    Case # 10,362 on Why Humans Suck. Monarchs used to occupy 45 acres in Mexico, today it’s down to 1.7 acres. One Point Seven! This debacle unnerves me as much as what we’re doing to the bees. The monarchs are beautiful, but I guess they are not as critical to our ecosystem and food supply as the bees. (Or are they?) But it doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to as much protection from human greed and predation.

    What will it take to stop this? Monsanto is into so many bad things — they are the manufacturers of Roundup and considered to be the leading cause of why the monarchs are near extinction — I think their logo should be a skull and crossbones. 😦

    I recently signed a petition demanding Monsanto withdraw Roundup from the market. If you don’t mind, I’m going to post the link here: http://action.sumofus.org/a/monsanto-is-killing-the-monarchs/?sub=tw Maybe you and some others will sign, too.

    How can we destroy this Earth and its gorgeous creatures with no conscience or empathy? What’s happening to us? Why do we let this stuff get to the point of no return? Where is our fight? I know you didn’t mean for your blog to have this effect, but I’m demoralized. 😦 Yet I appreciate your willingness to spread the word. I hope your other readers will act.

  2. joeref says:

    I have been studying the situation with the bees. Though the problems facing the Monarch are great, and the consequences of their demise unknown, the situation with the bees is another more pressing and catastrophic dilemma. If and when the bees go, the entire planet will be in terrible peril. I was planning on doing some more research on this and it will become a future post. Sadly these man-made calamities are popping up all around us. Fortunately with swift and organized action we can defeat them and turn the tide back to a more natural way of living. Potent chemicals and GMO’s do not seem to be the most logical course, unless you are looking to inflate profits at the expense of the health of the ecosystem. Hopefully consumers will understand the nature of the dangers we face, and through the use of simple supply and demand, shut these artificial industries down before it’s too late.

  3. Joanne F says:

    I hope you’re right about educated consumers, Joe. Because all I see, especially here on Long Island, is a bunch of people who want to have the greenest, most weedfree lawns in the neighborhood. No matter what it takes. For shame.

    You know what would work more quickly? Legislation. Legislation that bans the use of these products due to the deleterious effects they have on the environment and food supply, which in turn would force companies like Monsanto to develop more sustainable, green alternatives. But they’ve been so busy buying Congress, what do you think our chances of that are?

  4. joeref says:

    I have a feeling that the consumers will straighten this out much the way they have started moving away from farm raised salmon. In this world capitalism’s supply and demand seems to be the most powerful deterrent to bad behaviour and the most complimentary force for good. One only needs to look to see what U2’s Bono has achieved with his RED campaign. As consumers realize what their spending habits bring upon the world I have faith they will generally make the right decisions. Legislation helps to a point. I do agree that legislation would help if the GMO purveyors were forced to label their products !

  5. Joanne F says:

    Where is John Lennon when we need him?

  6. joeref says:

    John did what he could in the time he was given. He set the stage so to speak for all of the world activists that followed in his footsteps. I miss him everyday and often wonder what wonderful musical and social things he would have accomplished by his old age. We must carry the torch for him…as Yoko has done all these years, doing her best to fulfill his dreams.

  7. Joanne F says:

    You’re right, and we owe it to him. I wish I had a warmer, fuzzier feeling about Yoko, but I will give her credit where credit is due.

  8. joeref says:

    She’s an artist…a bit crazy and avant garde…I wouldn’t expect the vast majority of the world to accept or love her…but John did and that’s really all that matters in the final analysis.

  9. Joanne F says:

    I agree. I don’t like her “art” or her music, but I deeply respect her right to make it and perform it. I wonder how successful she would be at her art and music if she were not Mrs. John Lennon. Needless, I won’t waste my time or money on it.

    Her relationship with John was genuine and very special, without a doubt. I recently saw a video of them together, and nobody can deny the powerful bond they had. I am sorry she became a widow so young.

    I have a different problem with her. On some level I find her to be somewhat disingenuous and perhaps a bit of a troublemaker. I feel she had involvement with the breakup of The Beatles, perhaps encouraging John to go it alone. I know there’s a group of people who think as I do, but I don’t remember if it’s ever been proven. If we ever find out for sure, and I’m wrong about her, I’ll certainly try to get the “warm and fuzzies” back. 🙂

  10. joeref says:

    Yoko’s art is definitely not for everyone! LOL. I sort of like some of her writings, films etc. Remember…she was a fairly respected New York avant garde underground artist BEFORE she was with John. I think people perceive her to be th reason the Beatles broke up but as Joihn himself said that is sort of a silly presumption. All of the Beatles had their own ideas and career paths that they wanted to travel along. Paul wanted to be the world’s greatest pop star/musician….Ringo wanted to be an actor…George was the holy man and John wanted to be an artist…something he had always been before and after music. In my opinion she was definitely not the reason they split. John was a lonely character and she did turn out to be his muse and inspiration something he hadn’t really had since Julia died.

  11. Joanne F says:

    I did not know Yoko’s art history before John, so I appreciate you clueing me in there. The same for your recount of the Beatles’ breakup, and Yoko’s lack of involvement in it. I guess I’ll have to work on developing some warm and fuzzies for her now. 🙂

  12. joeref says:

    Yoko will always be a polarizing fifure but in my mind John loved her…she raised a very cool artistic son in Sean, and she is one happening old lady! Sh had her first number one dance hit at 80 years old!

  13. Joanne F says:

    I never doubted John’s love for her, and I even admire the powerful bond they shared. You don’t see that too often. And no matter what I think of her or her art, I felt awful when she became a widow, especially so young. On her other achievements, having learned them now, I’m thinking more positively and feeling the warm and fuzzies coming on. 🙂

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