PicturePhoto by D. Pauze (www.terralovers.com)
Monarch butterflies are so beautiful.  How can you not look at these wonderful little guys/gals and not feel an overwhelming sense of awe?  They flutter around and bring feelings of goodness to butterfly lovers everywhere.  But I have some bad news, they're numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate because of the fact that the one plant they thrive on (milkweed) is vanishing due to loss of habitat (Center for Food Safety).

Monarch butterflies migrate astonishing miles to get out of the cold weather. When we think of migration, we often think a couple hundred miles, especially for insects, but the Monarch flies over 2500 miles in some cases to escape the cold (Monarch Butterfly Website).

Since the rise of agricultural industrialization and the resulting natural habitat loses, the Monarch butterfly migration numbers have been declining (Center for Food Safety).  While the number of Monarch butterflies migrating south has been overall declining since  1996-97, the trend since 2008 has been a steady decline and the number of migrating Monarch's as of last year is at an all time low (Center for Food Safety).  

PicturePhoto by D. Pauze (www.terralovers.com)
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on Milkweed.  But since agricultural industrialization has resulted in a decline of wild growing Milkweed, it stands to reason that if we start adding this weed to our gardens, we can create way stations for the Monarch during it's life/travel (Spector, 2013).   Planting milkweed in your gardens will help these guys by adding back some of the habitat they are losing (Live Monarch).  It's pretty simple, we are moving in and taking away their homes & habitats.  So instead of making it worse by not doing anything, we can help by simply adding certain plants to our gardens and landscapes that attract these beautiful guys/gals, starting with milkweed.  Live Monarch will provide you with seeds for the price of shipping, but if they only have the southern plant, you can find a great list of other providers at Monarch Watch.  

PictureI helped this little guy out.
Monarchs are not the only butterflies that would benefit by the planting of milkweed, and milkweed is not the only plant you can add to your gardens to attract butterflies, but it is their primary food source and they do lay their eggs on it (World Wildlife Fund).  

The fate of flutter butters is unknown, but we can help bring back places to provide them safe harbor.  Don't delay, plant milkweed & add butterfly gardens to your landscape.  You will be grateful, especially when you get to witness them in all their splendor during their mating and feeding seasons.  Remember you can get free milkweed plants here: Live Monarch & get a list of other places that provide them here: Monarch Watch.  And if you want to take part in putting together awesome butterfly gardens, all you have to do is plant, with love.  Take matters into your own hands, don't let their numbers continue to dwindle while doing nothing. Just plant a plant, or thirty.  

Some varieties of milkweed are deer & rabbit resistant.  



Additional comments &  resources welcome.  


Alicia Graef.  2013. Monarch Butterflies Are Vanishing: Here’s How You Can Help From Your Own Home.  1 Feb 2014. 

Center for Food Safety.  2014. New Report Shows Monsanto A Major Culprit in Record Decline of Monarch Butterflies.  1 Feb 2014.  http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/30/monsanto-culprit-record-decline-monarch-butterflies/

Kaye Spector. 2013. How You Can Help Prevent Decline of Monarch Butterflies Due to Roundup-Ready Genetically Engineered Crops.  1 Feb 2014. http://ecowatch.com/2013/10/30/home-gardeners-can-take-simple-steps-protect-monarch-butterflies/

Live Monarch. 2013. 1 Feb 2014.  http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm

 Monarch Butterfly Website. n.d.Web. 1 Feb 2014. http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html

Monarch Watch.  n.d. Bring back the Monarchs. 1 Feb 2014. http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/resources/plant-seed-suppliers

World Wildlife Fund.  2014. Monarch population hits lowest points in more than 20 years.  1 Feb 2014. http://worldwildlife.org/stories/monarch-population-hits-lowest-point-in-more-than-20-years

Do you believe so?  Do you feel that the water we drink from fresh water aquifers should have a price put on it?  Many corporations feel that water should have a price, that water is a human right when referring to the water we need to live, but water to wash your car, water your golf courses and gardens should not be "free reign".  Instead they feel a price should be put on water so we can regulate what little fresh water supply we do have.

The fresh water we have is not an infinite supply by any means.  Groundwater & aquifers take thousands of years to recharge (replace what has been removed) and with us pumping water out of the ground faster than it can recharge, what do you think will happen?  This is not speculation, this is not far fetched, it is a simple math problem.  When you subtract a large number from a small number the result is smaller or a negative.

Water will run out, just like oil, fresh water is not something that we can continue to waste, contaminate and or pump out of the ground for profit, it must be held in the highest regard and respect for without it, we cannot live.  Think about that for a minute while you sit cozy in your home with fresh water being delivered to your faucets and/or toilets.  How much of it do you feel is wasted when we leave a faucet running for 2 minutes or flush our toilets.  Considering the supply and demand of fresh water it is not hard to imagine us seeing a time where we don't have it so readily available.

Corporations want to put a price on water so we learn how to live within our water means.  Truth is I don't believe for one minute that it is to help the great deal of people living without water on this planet, I think the agenda is to use something that every living creature needs to survive as a chess piece to make money. But I could be looking at it wrong.  While watching the CEO of Nestle talk about water and how it should be regulated, I had certain times when I found myself agreeing with what he was saying but my heart was screaming about the point missed.  I feel that corporations and the people with all the money have the means to help, but it is not by sucking groundwater out and bottling it, it is more by coming up with a filtering system that can be worldwide, something that takes our bad water and turns it into good water by an easy process.  With all the smart people there are in the world, you cannot tell me that someone has not come up with an idea of how to streamline the filtering of our grey water and apply it to everyday living.  And getting down to the truth of the matter, people want things fast and now and do not want to wait, instant gratification has become the name of the game, regardless of how many people it will come to harm.  

Water is a human right, but that does not mean to the point of running the well dry.  

My inspiration/references:

Carl Sagan said, "An organism at war with itself is doomed, we are one planet" .
What does that really mean for us?  It means that what is done to one part of a system affects all parts of the system.  We are not separated from the world around us, we are in fact part of it in such a way that when comparing our own systems to that of something as vast as our universe, an emerging similarity is so visible it is futile to deny.

Earlier human traditions paid homage to this fact.  The early cultures respected the fact that our surroundings are directly affected by what we do in them.  Take for example an indigenous tribe in the rain forest.  They only hunt for what they need and they always give respect for what they have.    By doing this they ensure their survival by not hunting all the game out of their forest by always being appreciative of what they have and by not taking more than they need.  Imagine if you will what would happen if every day they hunted for more than one kill and took more life than the forest had time to replenish.  How long do you think they would last in a forest that is hunted each day and generations of life striped away at a rate that is greater than the rate of reproduction?  If you are seeing things clearly, and seeing how delicate a balance life on this planet hangs on, you would see that they would not last through a couple of seasons.  

But look if you will at what we have now.  We have mass production of food which continues to lead to the destruction of those places that produce life.  Forests and oceans are being wiped clean by either hunting, over fishing, clear cutting and/or pollution.  We have tipped the balance of consuming to reproduction in such a way that they have laws about how many months you can hunt/fish etc.  We have taken much more than nature can keep up with and we continue to take more and more each day.  Eventually, like the indigenous tribe in the rain forest, we will have nothing left to take.  

We have lost our respect for this planet and in doing so we have doomed our selves.  We are at war, war with ourselves, war with our planet.  While life always finds a way, it is not beyond our understanding to clearly see what will happen if we continue on this path.  We are nature and "we are one planet", meaning you should treat this planet well because in doing so you are also treating yourself well.

The inspiration for today's writing can be found here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjrmK8t6VYk .

This is the most beautiful thing.  Not only does this look good and provide light, warmth and cool, but it take bottles out of the garbage.  

I am going to do one of these myself this summer.  I am collecting beer bottles from everyone I know.  When I get close to construction I will know the amount of bottles I am short and may ask for some help from you fine people, but at the present moment, there is no short of beer loving individuals.

This photo is from Earthship's Blog page, click on the picture to go to there site.  

Happy bottle building! 

Earth's history has been gathered from year upon year of studying sediment & ice and supported by scientific method.  Each time a new moment in time is found, it is placed on a timeline which gives us a rough estimate of what our planet's history looked like. Time and time again, extinction events have been recognized.

We are not even a speck in the timeline right now and at any point and time a space rock the size of Texas can smash into the Earth at unimaginable speed and wipe out life on this planet.   Living underground can only get us so far, and unless we have fully functional cities underground for all to live, most of us will not survive such a thing. Who/what would survive? 

Let's imagine humans survive.  Let's imagine a certain number of individuals made it past an ELE (Extinction Level Event).  Who would those people be?  Would they be willing to understand the chance involved in just having the ability to live on this planet?  Would they learn from the mistakes of the past?  

What are we going to leave behind on the Geologic Time Scale?   Will we leave behind rich soils, clean fresh water, lots and lots of life?  If a big space rock smashed down on the planet right this minute, will our time in this scale see lots of life all stop abruptly?  Sure it would.  But would we not also see life diminishing over time, increase in deserts, changes in salinity coupled with increased carbon dioxide in the our oceans and highly volatile groundwater?  Sure we would.  Think those landfills will break down and create a soil mixture not found in our geologic time scale?  Sure they will. Maybe we can get a jump start on the future of the Geologic Time Scale by adding a layer of sediment rich in broken down plastics, debris and toxic chemicals.  

It is not necessary to point the finger at who or what created this because the truth of the matter is each of us, in one way or another have contributed (willingly or unwillingly) to the planet's current state.  The blame game just does not apply.  Instead, we have to learn from those past and present mistakes being compounded on a daily basis.  Truth is, if we pay attention to what has been happening, we see preventable disaster just about everywhere we look.  And while our hearts are in the right place, our slow call to action leaves an era to be desired.

References/further reading: