Posted by: cindydyer | March 6, 2011

Why is Earth Day so important?

Earth Day is every day although many people don’t realize that we need to protect the environment for future generations. (Bumble bee photo © Elaine Evans)

Nature is being assaulted on many fronts. Honey bees are declining because of colony collapse disorder. Founded in 1971, the Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. According to Xerces Society, “Native bumble bees are also at risk like many plants and animals, bumbles are suffering from loss of habitat, pesticide poisoning, changing climates, and diseases that were introduced along with non-native bees. The Western bumble bee, the rusty-patched bumble bee, and yellow-banded bumble bee used to be very common, but their numbers have decreased by 96 percent and their range shrunk by as much as 87 percent.” The Franklin bumble bee of Oregon and California is thought to be extinct.

In 2010 President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) with the aim of developing an agenda for 21st-century conservation and helping Americans reconnect with our nation’s lands and waters.

According to Robert Louve, author of Last Child in the Woods, children are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. Xeriscape Council of New Mexico, President George Radnovich states that Nature Attention Deficit Disorder applies to adults as well as children because as a whole American society is losing interest in the natural world. The natural world can live without us but we cannot live without the natural world.

Loss of habitat in three countries Canada, United States and Mexico is the main concern for monarch butterflies. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has announced that the Monarch Butterfly Migration is at risk. According to WWF, a well-preserved forest ecosystem in Mexico is critical for the survival of the Monarch butterfly wintering, which has been recognized as an endangered biological phenomenon, and the first priority in world butterfly conservation. There is also concern by Lincoln Brower, Professor Emeritus of Biology at University of Florida. Brower states in the NOVA film, Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, that the monarch is facing an endangered migration phenomena. Monarch needs native habitat and biodiversity which are declining in the United States and Canada.

Farms used to be run by families, and many of them practiced good land stewardship. Now farms are mostly run by corporations. Just like people, pollinators are poisoned by pesticides. Butterflies can’t find native nectar sources when large tracks of land are now being planted with monoculture crops. The USDA is researching the importance of pollinators and has acknowledged that we need more biodiversity if we are to have pollinators to produce many vegetable crops and fruit. In 2006 a Science report documented what appears to be a major decline in bees in England and the Netherlands (possibly a 30% loss in species richness since 1980), especially among specialist bees, and a corollary decline in wild plant species that require insect-pollination.

Earth Day Event 2011 • April 23
Ken Parejko, author of Monarch of the Butterflies, will be the speaker of Earth Day Event 2011. Parejko is a Professor Emeritus of Biology at University of Wisconsin at Stout. He is well versed in the monarch butterfly and has pointed out that we need to protect pollinators for future generations. Plants are dependent upon pollinators. Did you know that butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators in the world after bees?

There will be a poetry reading with Jeff Lewis and a Native American ceremony with Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox to honor the native habitat at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. A reception will follow at the Community Center, with a presentation by author Ken Parejko, a performance by the band New Edition, and a local organic lunch featuring soup, sandwich, dessert and beverage, as well as various environmental displays.

WHAT, WHEN & WHERE: 4th Annual Earth Day at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat on Highway 63, Shell Lake, WI on April 23, 2011

EVENT TIMES: Poetry reading: 1:00 p.m. / Reception 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

TICKET INFORMATION: Pay $1 entrance at door (kids are free) and donation for lunch

Happy Tonics, Inc. was founded in 1999 and has long been involved in conservation work on behalf of the monarch butterfly and food safety issues. Visit their Web site to learn more at www.happytonics.org

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