I grate me to print such a title, but sadly it’s true. Monarch 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 may be climbing the trees that the Monarchs hibernate in. There has been no proof, yet…..but I’m 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. It’s not only predators that are harming our monarch butterflies.
The removal of the monarch habitat happens when developers build large subdivisions destroying the natural landscape where swan plants once lived amongst the nectar flowers. Fewer plants mean fewer 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.
Image: Debbie Torres Berg
Thankfully at this time all around the world, there are many breeding sanctuaries and zoos, which give hope to endangered animals and insects. We are many places around the world with successful breeding programs, 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 in the wild.
It would be terrible to have Tigers, Cheetah and Orangutan are to be just a distant 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 affected 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 practices 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, it’s exciting to see major retailers ditching plastic bags, the average person uses 350 bags a year!!! Straws in many cafés being a thing of the past and more emphasis on refilling your own coffee cups rather than throw away cups. Innovative businesses that care for the environment and have sustainable practices are appearing everywhere and soaring to great heights. It’s about supporting great eco-friendly businesses, you just attract them to yourself.
It starts with us, educating our preschoolers, also around our homes as our children are watching our everyday 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 long-term, did I also mention heaps of money too. We all know children only like toys for a short period, so why not swap toys amongst your friends with similar aged children. It’s about limiting the number of resources that we use, giving back to the planet. Getting them involved in planting their own food and caring for their seedlings. Caring for all the insects in our ecosystem as every creature has a purpose here on Earth.
There are 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 it’s 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 breathe these in? I also leave the car at home once a week, make fewer 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 second-hand 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, the world we live in.
Want to know more and help boost the Monarch population make sure you purchase my book below and read up all there is to know about raising Monarch butterflies.