Breaking: Monarch Sighted in Brooklyn

Danaus plexippusI saw my second Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) of the year today. This was my first in Brooklyn; in Brooklyn Bridge Park, feeding on Joe-Pye Weed (Spotted JPW, I believe, Eupatorium maculatum).

As you probably know, we have done quite a number on this spectacular species, through deforestation in Mexico, reducing its food crops further north in the U.S., and poisoning its habitat everywhere; such blows make them even more susceptible to external pressures, like severe weather, in particular the drought in Texas (“external” if you don’t count our carbon-dirty hands in disrupting traditional weather patterns through global warming).

Here are some graphs of the shocking declines and here’s an interview with a biologist whose entire professional career has been about them disappearing. There’s nothing personal, of course, in this drive to extinguish one more species; we’ve done it to the whole planet, and even ourselves.

Can you do anything to keep this remarkable animal, which has a multi-generational, continent-spanning migration, around for your grandchildren? You can plant milkweed, stop the wide-spread poisoning of the environment through herbicides and pesticides, and drive less.. say what? The field-to-field cropping of corn to meet the ethanol demand means that “weedy” edges have been plowed under. We must all change our lives.

4 Responses to “Breaking: Monarch Sighted in Brooklyn”

  1. 1 elwnyc July 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Whoopee! I’d heard from a friend in South Jersey who had seen one (1) last week, so was hoping they’d show up.

  2. 3 kristin wartman July 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    This is devastating. I remember just 3 years ago seeing more than I could count on the butterfly bush out my back window in Brooklyn. Last year I saw just three or four and this year there are none at all.

  3. 4 alternahealthgrrrl July 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Concord Village EarthLab and commented:
    The Monarchs are here…

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