Layers of problems in regards to the human species and the Monarch Butterfly

“We are on a collision course to global disaster with a dangerous disconnect between the political timetable and what science is warning us.”

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada – from the19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Nov. 19th in Warsaw, Poland


A cluster of monarchs


In November 2012 my wife Francis and I were privileged to visit the Pismo Beach butterfly grove in California.

California Nov. 2012


The Monarch Butterfly


It was fascinating to witness the large clusters of 100’s of butterflies . . .

A cluster of monarch butterflies @ Pismo Beach, California!


Scores of the “monarchs” were simultaneously in flight . . .



Our visit was somewhat alarming because the beautiful monarch butterflies are in trouble.  Posted at the grove was the chart shown below. and it clearly indicates a declining population. I think the Monarch is trying to tell us something!


Monarch Poulations @ Pismo State Beach 1990-2012



Although the monarch is not considered an “endangered species”,  their normal migratory patterns and habitat in North America is being altered, and this is leading to their decline. 

Monarch Butterfly Migration


Monarch Migrations


Scientists aren’t exactly certain, though evidence strongly indicates that disruption to the Monarchs is caused by a combination of climate change and industrial scale production of “round-up ready” soybeans and corn – the GMO (genetically modified organism) patented variety.  Increasing droughts and the use of herbicide indiscriminately kills milkweed which is the main source of food for the monarch butterflies.

Industrial farming in the USA


Monarchs in decline - Nov. 2012


Sadly, a large proportion of corn and soybean presently grown in the USA is not used for food but for the manufacture of bio-fuels,  and ironically, it’s production and combustion further accentuates climate change.


A monarch butterfly @ Pismo Beach California Nov. 2012

I’ll conclude with excerpts from a report by Elizabeth May who is a delegate at the current UN Climate Conference in Warsaw.

A World Bank Report on Loss and Damage released today said that by 2030, 325 million people could be both very poor and living in areas very susceptible to extreme weather events. By mid-century, the report estimates the losses due to climate change to the world’s coastal cities alone could come to $1 trillion/year, every year. . . 

The issue called “loss and damage” comes to this: the community of nations, particularly the industrialized world, having failed to reduce emissions sufficient to avoid climate damage, having failed to assist developing countries to put in place robust adaptation measures to reduce damage from killer weather events, the poorest of the poor are getting hit with massive storms for which they are unprepared. . . 

This is like the point on the Titanic when lifeboats were only available for First Class passengers.

Metamorphosis anyone?  Cheers – Bruce

17 thoughts on “Layers of problems in regards to the human species and the Monarch Butterfly

  1. Thanks for raising these issues, Bruce. I’ve had my own memorable encounter with the Monarch butterfly in the Northwest Region of Guyana, my country of birth.

    The bees, too, are warning us of our deadly path to self-destruction.

  2. It is truly sad, Bruce. But it happens everywhere. In my country, some species of butterfly vanishing, that is not to mention other species of insects which I found easily when I was in my younger age 😦

    • Yes – we swat at mosquitos and flies, or do worse – and people often forget how important insects are, to us and to the beauty around us.

      The Dalai Lama says if you think small things don’t make a difference, remember the mosquito. For me, somehow this thought takes away some of the sadnes of the worlds suffering and the loss.

    • Yes indeed Seeker. I recall reading in one of David Suziki books, that if the human species is to become extinct, the planet earth manage alright . . . and yet if the lowly ants were to disappear, the earth’s ecosytem would be completely devasted. A humbling thought indeed.

  3. Sad news, Bruce. Thank you for sharing, just wish there could be a simple solution. Such beautiful creatures…
    Butterfly Grove -looks like a wonderful place to visit. 😊

    • The grove wasn’t that large – I’d guess a few acres. There was maybe 50 people visiting, and it seemed everyone was awestruck. The day we visited there were an estimated 5000 butterflies. It is sad to witness there demise, and I too wish we could implement simple solutions.

    • Yes indeed Peter. It is good there are numerous volunteers throughout the world who are committed to “counts” – are you one of them, counting ducks? Just kidding. Peace to you.

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