Monarchs in Decline & Sustainability

I grates me to print such a title, but sadly its true.   Monarch’s butterflies are here to teach us many things and they need our help in boosting their numbers.  Imagine living in a world where there are no butterflies?  Today we are living in a world where there are so many endangered animals and species, because we have taken away their habitats, killed for food or hunted for money which has led to some animals becoming extinct.

Here in New Zealand there have been many reports that overwintering sites around Christchurch are down from previous years.  This is because rats maybe climbing the trees that the Monarchs hibernate in.  There has been no proof, yet…..but Im sure we will catch the culprits, there are a group of people at the moment who give up endless hours of their own time, researching and reporting this.  Its not only predators that are are harming our monarch butterflies.

The removal of the monarch habitat happens when developers build large sub divisions destroying the natural landscape where swan plants once lived amongst the nectar flowers.  Less plants means less butterflies, it’s that simple.  Humans are also a threat to monarchs and other pollinators when we use chemical sprays or weed killers.

Pesticide sprays on crops hang around in the air and on plants, eventually infecting and harming the monarchs flying into the sprays in the air.

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Image: Debbie Torrez Berg

Thankfully at this time all around the world there are many breeding sanctuary’s and zoo’s, which give hope to endangered animals and insects.  We are many places around the world with successful breeding programmes, this involves passionate skilled caring people, heaps of money and determination.  This also includes thousands of people around the world that give up so much of their time raising Monarch butterflies into the wild.

It would be terrible to have Tigers, Cheetah and Orangutan’s to be just a distance memory.  Recently we have lost the world’s last male northern white rhino in 2018.  Monarch butterflies are also in massive decline, due to loss of habit, lack of host plants and feeding nectar plants, plus climate change.  Butterflies have an important part to play in our environment they are indicator species, which means if there is anything unusual happening in our air such as high pollution rates, pesticide sprays, butterflies are unfortunately one of the first to vanish.  In the USA the use of pesticides has dramatically effected the monarch butterfly and many people tirelessly breed and raise Monarchs inside.

If we keep on ripping down trees, polluting the air, oceans, especially our lakes and rivers in New Zealand Mother Earth will hurt even more.  We need to act as individuals and change our current practises around sustainability and greed.  By growing our own food where possible, recycling our rubbish, reusing, and up-cycle things we don’t need.  In the last year its exciting to see major retailers ditching the plastic bags, the average person uses 350 bags a year!!!  Straws in many cafes being a thing of the past and more emphasis on refilling your own coffee cups rather than throw aways cups. Innovative businesses that care for the environment and have sustainable practices are appearing everywhere and soaring to great heights. Its about supporting great eco friendly businesses, you just attract them to yourself.

It starts with us, educating our pre schoolers, also around our homes as our children are watching our every day habits, are you doing everything possible or could do a little more to help?   Our children need to be more conscious of the amount of toys/plastic that they think they need.  This is why I worked at a toy library whilst my children were small. The concept of belonging to a toy library and borrowing toys saves so much plastic in the landfill longterm, did I also mention heaps of money too.  We all know children only like toys for a short period, so why not swap toys among your friends with similar aged children. Its about limiting the amount of resources that we use, giving back to the planet.  Getting them involved planting their own food and caring for their seedlings.  Caring for all the insects in out ecosystem as every creature has a purpose here on Earth.

Theres so many opportunities around for us to be much more purposeful and how we use resources coming in and out of businesses, we have such a wide choice now than ever before.  Especially with all our eco based cleaning products and toiletries that are now available and only slightly higher in price, but its so worth it.  Remember your skin absorbs 70% of what you place on it, do we really want to be putting nasty chemicals on it. Same with household cleaning products do really want to breathing these in?  I also leave the car at home once a week, make less meals with meat in, I have been using  recycled bags for the last 10 years and make sure I always store them in my car just in case I get some groceries last minute. I use secondhand shops and support fair trade companies where possible.

We need to help improve our lakes, oceans, forests, beaches and keep them clean.  Keep New Zealand green be proud of what a beautiful country, world we live in.

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