Growing up just outside of Holland, I played in the creek, the pond and the river. I played in the trees, the valley and the fields. I caught crayfish, fireflies and frogs not to mention a few worms, turtles and butterflies. I played with nature, I watched and I learned.
The soaring hawk, the jumping fish, the lumbering snapping turtle all provided lessens to the curious mind back when I thought ‘to google’ (or was that ‘oogle’??) meant staring awkwardly at a pretty girl. Nature can still teach us many things but the internet sure can help fill in the missing pieces.
Today, we can still find many of the same things in the wild places but some are curiously missing. The Monarch butterfly is one of these. As kids we used to find the caterpillars roaming milkweeds and if we were lucky, a chrysalis would make it into a jar were we could watch nature literally unfold.
But it is rare to find a monarch anymore, the king of butterflies with their stained-glass wings that provided a sense of awe for generations are now being considered for addition as an endangered species. The high use of Neonicotinoids and GMOs (with the additional use of herbicides) in agriculture are the primary cause. While there is little hard evidence to show that GMOs have a negative effect on our health, it is clear they have a huge effect on our natural world. Monarch populations have dropped over 90% in the last 20 years.
Is this a good reason to avoid GMOs? Well, it is to me, it is also a reason we have way too many milkweed plants in every flower bed around the house and all through the valley. It is our hope that we can once again see these magnificent creatures and we can all say “long live the king!”