Posted by: cindydyer | November 27, 2013

Monarch collapse

Screen shot 2013-11-27 at 12.36.55 PMWhile attending a Thanksgiving  community dinner sponsored by Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, at St. Joseph’s Church, in Fitchburg on 27 November 2013, Sheila Lumi, director, Central Massachusetts Art and Agriculture Coalition, announced that the Mexican monarch butterfly population was reported as only 3 million returning Monarchs to Mexico around All Souls Day, the day that Monarchs normally return to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere in Michoacan. The count was observed around All Soul’s Day, 01 November 2013. The count is the lowest number ever recorded in over twenty years of observation. (left: Monarch on thistle, New Mexico © Mary Ellen Ryall)

Many scientists from around the country have feared that the Monarch butterfly might not be able to rebound from record low numbers this past summer in the United States. According to James Brugger, “As Watchdog Earth noted earilier this year, they have been losing habitat in the heartland to farming practices that don’t allow hardly any milkweed to grow. Yet they depend on milkweed, which hosts the butterflies’ caterpillars and chrysalises.” I only saw one monarch flutter by in Fitchburg, MA, this past summer. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI, experienced a drought, and no Monarchs were sighted.

It is more than sad to realize that the natural world is breaking down to the point that we are watching an indicator species in trouble. What does this mean for humans? One out of every three bites of food needs animal pollination. Butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators in the world, keeping the native plant gene pool alive. The monarch teaches us that mankind needs to transform, become sustainable, and stay connected to the natural world. This is the only way that the Web of Life can continue in harmony.

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