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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Pundits at the blackboard edition (71 comments)

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  •  Saw the same film at the Baltimore Science Ctr ... (22+ / 0-)

    a couple of weeks ago.  The auditorium was filled with middle school kids who excitedly were trying to "catch" the 3-D Monarch butterflies.  As we were leaving, I sadly told my wife that by the time those kids were able to buy a legal beer, the migratory Monarch butterflies would probably be extinct.

    I think I saw a total of 2 Monarchs during this year's fall migration here in Baltimore, and it wasn't many years ago that if you were outdoors during the fall migration season, you'd see at least 10 times that many in an hour.  They're going the way of the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet, and we're doing NOTHING about it.

    The climate may have had something to do with this, but the biggest reason is apparent if you grew up in the rural Midwest, as I did during the 1950s and 1960s.  Back then, just about every farm was divided into fenced fields of 40 acres or so, and along each fencerow, there were a variety of species of weeds, including milkweed.  The fields had to be fenced, because most farmers had hogs that they put into the fields to glean the left-over grain after harvest.

    Now, the hogs are all kept in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and many of the fences have been eliminated.  The fencerows have been vastly reduced, and everything is sprayed with Roundup.  There is NOTHING other than crops (mostly corn and soybeans).

    I really think it's too late already to save the migratory Monarchs.  No matter how many people plant butterfly gardens that include milkweed, the Monarchs have to find them on the way north, when they're ready to mate and lay eggs.  That was easy for them back in the days of my youth, since it was essentially impossible to fly a mile or two, other than in the cities, and not be very close to milkweed plants.

    It's not just the Monarch butterflies that are suffering, although they'll likely be the first extinction caused by current farming practice.  When I was a kid, you could go to my late uncle's farm and get your limit on pheasants with a couple of hours of hunting.  The last time I was there during hunting season, perhaps 20 years ago, I took my shotgun.  He told me I could hunt if I wanted to, but he hadn't seen a pheasant in more than a year, and only one or two of them in the previous several years.

    We're paying a big price for industrial agriculture, and most people have no idea that we're doing it.  And unless the extinction of the migratory Monarch butterflies somehow costs money for the economy, nothing will probably be done about it.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:33:31 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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