Caretakers of the Earth

As a member of the Middle Generation, most of my blogs involve stories about people- both older and younger than me. Today, however, I would like to point out that the Middle Generation is also responsible for taking care of our planet. We are the bridge between what was left to us by our parents and grandparents and what we leave to our children and grandchildren.

We may think our actions do not make a difference, but I saw something this afternoon that gives me hope…

Several years ago, the plight of the Monarch butterflies became a national interest. Their disrupted migration patterns and disappearance from their regular habitats  were showcased in Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior”- which gave readers the beautiful image of what a wonder these creatures are!

Shortly after reading the book, which consequently spurred multiple discussions and pleas for help in the news, I decided to take a small step and see if I could help save the Monarchs from extinction.

One of the trails in my neighborhood is a host site for Milkweed- the native food supply for Monarchs. I transplanted several roots into my garden in the hopes that I could attract the precious butterflies. Each year, the plants spread and produced more roots. This June, I saw beautiful flowers on them for the first time! Sadly though, even with the flowers in peak season, not a single Monarch came to drink. I was sitting on my deck a week ago, thinking what a shame and that maybe my efforts had been futile. I even considered pulling them all out at the end of the season.


Miraculously then, it seems, today I spotted a bright orange butterfly- which I can only believe was a Monarch- flitting around amongst my patch of Milkweed! I only saw one- but if she laid her eggs on one of my plants- maybe in a few weeks there could be dozens of caterpillars! And after that, another metamorphosis into fill-blown butterflies!

I didn’t dare go closer to disturb the process. Maybe in a few days I will check if there are any eggs, but for now you will have to accept these images I found on the web. And until then,  I am hopeful that I may have assisted this majestic species in its survival effort.

I can’t say that saving one butterfly is enough, but if that butterfly reproduces and its offspring reproduces and so on- it could make a difference in the long run. Just think what could happen if everyone was able to save one Monarch?

So my message to you is:  find a cause that you believe in and do your best to support it- whether it is for clean air or water, saving an endangered species or any other aspect of climate change. If we each do our part as caretakers of the earth, we can hopefully leave this world in better condition for the next generations.

UPDATE: 8/5/17

I spotted this caterpillar on the milkweed leaf this afternoon. I verified that it is indeed a Monarch.  The pictures  below show it’s parent laying the eggs a few weeks ago. Now I just hope it makes its way through the chrysalis stage without getting consumed by a predator.


Update 9/28/17

I do not have photos to back this 3, but over the course of the last 2 months I have seen numerous solo monarchs in flight! One at a time, not colonies, but every time I see one I get excited ! If everyone keeps doing their part, maybe we can help this magnificent species recover…

Earth Hour

This is a photo of Sydney Harbour Bridge and S...

This is a photo of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House during Earth hour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 31st, Earth Hour was observed around the globe. Organized by the WWF in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, it has since spread to 147 countries which turn off the lights of their notable landmarks. These include the Sydney Opera House, the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis, the Brandenburg Gate, Big Ben and the Empire State Building.  For one hour, between 8:30-9:30pm local time, residents of the countries were encouraged to participate as well. I stumbled across this invitation in the Saturday morning paper and was surprised by how quickly my kids decided they would like to join in. They enjoy their video games and tv shows, but they were very willing to put them aside in favor of playing a board game.

As 8:30 approached, we had a fire burning in our wood stove, fragrant candles lined up and a pot of tea brewing. Monopoly was set up on our coffee table and we had a flashlight nearby to aid with reading the cards. We walked around the house, turning off all the lights, shutting down the computers and taking our phones off the chargers. Then we gathered in the family room and began our game.

Monopoly board on white bg

At first it was difficult to see the board and the pieces, but our eyes gradually adjusted and the scent of the candles was very relaxing. As we rolled the dice and competed for properties, making purchases or trades, the time passed quickly. Before we knew it, the hour was over. We reflected on what it would have been like to be without power for days, as our relatives were last fall. They agreed that it was fun for a short time, but were glad we could now turn the lights back on. Before we did, though, we pointed out how this made us aware of our reliance on electricity and asked everyone to be more careful about leaving lights on or running electronic devices unnecessarily. Frankly, I’m not very optimistic that they will follow through; but I am proud of them for giving it a try.