Yesterday I saw two Monarch butterflies. We spotted the first in the morning during our lovely 2-mile loop; it was fluttering through Kit Carson park near the Rio Grande. Then, later that afternoon, while sitting in our backyard reading a book, I looked up just in time to see one float past me.
The Monarchs are amazing creatures, and the only butterfly in the world to partake in a massive (about 3,000 mile long) two-way migration. The two that I saw yesterday were probably returning from their winter home in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, as part of their spring migration.
A visit to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is one of the many adventures on Aaron’s and my to-do list. I’ve been to parts of Michoacan before, but I’ve never been there in the winter to see the Monarchs. It is definitely one of the places that we would like to share with our child. How spectacular would it be to see millions of mariposas all in one place! Even better: how precious would it be to see the look of awe on your child’s face?
Unfortunately, Monarch butterflies are a threatened species and their numbers are declining rapidly. Excessive use of herbicides, and the development and use of genetically modified crops destroys their habitat. What other kinds of harm do these things inflict on our environment? The answer is that they cause many, many problems that we are aware of (yet many choose to ignore) and many, many more problems that we don’t even know about. Every time we buy products or support companies that practice these reckless and unnecessary methods, we are contributing to the decline of the Monarch butterfly and the general destruction of our environment.
I would like to be able to take our child to see the Monarch butterflies. I would like for future generations to be able to see the Monarch butterflies. But it isn’t just about some butterflies…it is about our environment and the Monarchs are only one minor indication of the health of our environment. This is why we buy organic products. This is why we buy local, why we eat real food, why we compost…This is the motivation behind our decisions on how we carefully allocate our money. The environment is something we value, for us and for everyone’s children.