Stained Glass of September

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Monarch Butterflies are in a death spiral. We are so casual about their loss. It is a heart-achingly beautiful world and we’re killing it. We’re killing it for our own convenience. We’re killing it for our personal greed. Climate change? We’ve got to make the profit, we’ve got to pump that oil, we’ve got to frack that oil, we’ve got to sell that oil, we’ve got to burn that oil or corporate empires will collapse so damn the butterflies, full speed ahead.

Cut those trees because families must be fed and when the forest is gone we’ll feed them something else. There’s profit to be made.

How do I explain to the next generation I let this happen on my watch?

This NYTimes video is eleven years old. (There may be an error in the type of milkweed is preferred.)


Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago my fall beach walks and kayaking excursions were filled with migrating monarchs. No more. I give my yard over to their favorite foods and far fewer are stopping to eat now. That shot is of New England Aster that I cultivate along with butterfly bush, tall phlox and milk weed, amongst others. It is not enough. There needs to be more of us helping feed them on the flyways. We need to protect the Mexican mountains where they winter.

Something beautiful is passing from this world.

Edit: I forgot the challenge tag. I see my asters from my front windows.

14 thoughts on “Stained Glass of September

  1. I agree its a shame that we’re killing off so much of the beauty of this world. Unlike you, I don’t blame it all on giant corporations and ‘greed’. I think basically it’s just a fact of human nature that we all struggle to live a ‘good’ life. People want to have certain things in their life and they’ll do what they have to in order to get them. No, not just basic food, water and shelter, but a comfortable life. For most, that also includes having children. Personally, I think population growth and the absolutely incredible number of people we have living on this planet now is the most basic issue. People need resources to live. Land especially. Until we can figure out how to photosynthesize like the plants do, I don’t see any way to stop the destruction of the planet in favor of packing in even more human beings.
    I wish they would spend as much effort to promote population control as they do on ‘climate change’! THAT would do a heck of a lot more to solve the problems we face (including climate change).

    • I agree with your feelings on mindful population control and limited resources. We have some very powerful world religions who think that THAT is a sin. I’ll disagree with the corporate greed, petrochemicals and the need for profit aren’t driving the global climate change. I also understand that as a professional seaman your beliefs on my Koch brothers fueled angle are going to be different than mine. 🙂

      Edit: And I also agree in some cases, as in the Mexican forests, it’s just people trying to make a living by logging. When the forests are gone, used up, and the butterflies dead, they may be next. It was ever this way. We are idiots.

      On a personal level, no petrochemicals in my garden, I love the warmth of angora and how it feels on my skin but since reading of the devastation of certain regions of the world where the single crop of angora goats raised for the world markets is wreaking havoc on the local eco-systems, I pass the sweaters and shawls by, even used ones at GoodWill. I also know where my shrimp comes from, my heart bleeds for ravaged Thailand. Etc. Etc. Etc.

      I put up this butterfly shot to keep the subject before us. I’m handicapped and can only move in small ways. I enjoy your blog. I enjoy respectful debate. I cannot thank you enough, it is refreshing to disagree with respect for the other.

      • Yes, I like to have respectful debates too. Seems harder and harder to do that every day. We’re all getting so divided.

        I do get your point about the corporations, but the way I look at it is, if people didn’t buy their products, they wouldn’t be doing any of that, right?

        It’s not just people trying to make a living (like me working out there in the oil fields), but mostly people just trying to live a comfortable life. People see ways to make their day to day lives easier and they’ll probably choose to do that.

        Cars, for example. When I first moved to Texas, I didn’t have a car. Not for years. I had my bicycle and rode it to school. It was too far to ride to work, so I hitchhiked. Too bad the cops didn’t like that and arrested me every time they caught me out on the road! Since this area is very spread out, I do REALLY appreciate my truck! What would I do without it? Go back to being arrested every time I have to go somewhere? Yes, that is how it would be, there is no other way to get around here.

        Those corporations aren’t actually FORCING anyone to buy their products, are they? No, they really can’t do that without the aid of the government. It’s only government that can ‘lawfully’ use force.

        This is why I think government should be giving incentives (not using force like China was, but something people would be willing to trade) to the general population to have less children rather than trying to get people to ‘be less greedy”- to cut down on their quality of life.

        I think a person could do FAR more good by not having kids than anything else they could possibly do to help the planet. Just think, even if I only had 1 kid, that kid could later choose to have 10 (or 50 – or MORE-if it was a male)! And all of those grandkids could do the same, and on and on. How much carbon have I saved by not having kids???

        I think more than enough to allow me to enjoy having some creature comforts in my life. I enjoy my house, my air conditioner, my truck, my refrigerator, etc. I do not appreciate people trying to coerce me into giving any of that up, no not even to ‘save the planet’.

        From what I’ve seen, it seems most people stop having so many kids once they reach a certain standard of living. That’s happened in a bunch of places around the world already. It looks to me, it’s freedom- both social AND economic freedom- that have allowed that increase to happen.

        I think everyone alive on this planet (and everything- like butterflies for example) deserves to live the best possible life that they can. It’s a real shame that so many people struggle in such terrible conditions, but I see the basic cause of that as just too many irons in the fire. WAY too many people! You can only support so many people on an acre of land! Technology helps (a lot), but I don’t see how it will ever be able to solve that basic problem.

        I don’t disagree with you that we need to make some serous changes. I do appreciate what everyone does to help, even if it’s just a little bit. I do my own little things too. I’m definitely not a ‘conspicuous consumer’! I still use my first TV and stereo from 1981. I don’t go out for just one thing, I try to save gas and I reuse just about everything. You should hear my friends tease me about my wardrobe! My garden is all organic too. 😉

        Enjoying the conversation. 🙂

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  3. I saw an amazing Imax movie in 3D about the migration of the monarch from Canada to Mexico, and the lifetime work of the scientist who followed their journey. Indeed it’s a sad fact that the destruction of their natural feeding stops along the route is taking a toll on their numbers. Humans have an enormous impact on the balance of the natural environment. We do have choices however. Say no to herbicide ready crops, say no to palm oils, know what you eat and where it comes from…

    • In my heart, since childhood I have wanted to visit this magical place where they winter. I have been blessed as an adult to go out into my eco friendly gardens and be swarmed by butterflies…but that was years ago. Monarchs are more skittish, they used to feed brazenly on the top of my bushes but now it is like they know, they go deeper in to avoid predators. If I see one struggling on the beach, caught up in the surf zone but still alive, I’ll take it home to my gardens so it gains strength. Silly, I know. A drop in the bucket but if I can keep their beauty forefront in the minds of others it is a small good.

  4. GOOD stuff, and beautiful butterflies … On population, I believe in God and I DO NOT believe in those ‘pro-life’ people who are ridiculously ignorant about the whole question of contraception & abortion. The arguments they make a simple, the question are complex – but ‘every child a wanted child’ is so obvious – and not just wanted but wanted for being a child and a person – not wanted as status symbol. 2 children is better than one: it is happier to have a sibling, and it helps in understanding about being people and sharing and not being self-centred due to ignorance. I think we have gone far too far with ‘assisted reproduction’ since infertility is not a total disaster today – and ‘buying’ the ability to conceive is … well, let’s not carry this further, but babies are not consumer items … Keeping the planet going is about learning to control our desires to ‘have everything’ in all areas. And it is about becoming a community not a set of individuals each out for ourselves. And it is difficult! But thought I wd put in my 2 cents to say that there are people who believe in God but are not subscribing to some of the issues which are most shouted about…and to my mind are impractical …

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