Monday, April 21, 2008
I am not ashamed to admit I like butterflies. Sure, they're not the most masculine of creatures but in my book they've got a lot going for them. First off, they're really cool looking - in flight, or migration, or just hanging out on a rock or a flower. They also pollinate a lot of plants. And how about the way some will rhythmically fan their wings while stationary? Or the fact that they start off life as a caterpillar (a very cool creature in itself)? Face it, butterflies are bitchin' and you know it. You're probably thinking you'd like to be reincarnated as one right now.
I remember as a little kid living in Laguna Beach in the early 70's, seeing Monarch butterflies everywhere. They used to camp out in eucalyptus trees in my neighborhood. It was a migratory pattern for them to travel through on their way to Mexico or points north. They fluttered by everywhere. It was awesome. There were other butterflies around, too, and I dug all of them. Little did I know then I would live to see a rapid decline in their numbers. Butterflies worldwide have been hit hard by deforestation, development, pesticides, air pollution, and infections. In Britain, Sir David Attenborough is backing a project to help save butterflies and educate people of their intrinsic value and importance to ecosystems: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/mar/13/conservation.wildlife1. These creatures are indicators, very sensitive to changes in the environment, similar to amphibians in that regard (don't get me started on salamanders - they're disappearing too and it pisses me off). Anyway, when indicator species start disappearing, it's time to pay attention and do something.