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!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly

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.

http://blog.nwf.org/2015/02/twelve-native-milkweeds-for-monarchs/

 

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!

http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

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.

  

Recycling brings a sigh of relief

A some of you may know, April 22 is Earth Day, and many communities  plan events for environmental awareness. In my town, today was a big recycling project. People brought electronics, scrap metal, clothing, textiles, housewares,  books and paper documents to the park where their items would then be sorted and taken to a recycling facility.

This year, in addition to several years worth of old bills and stacks of paper we no longer needed to save, I was able to finally let go of something that brought a great sigh of relief…

A week ago, my youngest made his decision on where he is going to college this fall! It seems like this process of searching colleges, visiting campuses, writing applications and the waiting…. oh the agonizing waiting for responses… has been going on forever. In actuality, it started just 6 years ago- which kind of is forever in a parent’s mind. My eldest spent hours reading about schools and sending away for brochures. She also worked hard at her preparation for college and took SATs and ACTs multiple times. There was a stack of practice test books on the shelf — more than a foot wide. Then there were the AP exam books- World History, Biology, Calculus- and the SAT II Subject practice tests- Math II and English. Again, all of these added up to at least another foot of space on the shelf.     IMG_3179

 

 

Lastly, there were the books ranking colleges, advising how to write a college essay and hundreds of pamphlets, brochures and other promotional material that both of my children had accumulated either in the mail or during campus visits. I probably should have taken a photo of the massive amount of paper these items took up, but, truthfully, I was so eager and ready to get rid of it. I never considered I would want to see it again. These collective items only symbolized the ongoing process of getting ready for college and the enormous amounts of stress that were heaped upon all members of the family.

Anyway, my husband and I loaded up our car and drove to the park this afternoon. The man who directed us to the paper recycling location was a friend. When I told him what we were bringing, he agreed that we must be very relieved to have this process -of prepping our kids for college and actually getting them both into a school of their choice- behind us.

As I carried the huge armload of practice test books to the table, a volunteer followed me with the heavy bag of brochures. I placed the pile on the table for the other students to deal with and watched as the one carrying the bag dumped its contents into the giant recycling dumpster. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked back to my car. I looked at my husband and smiled, “Isn’t it great to have this behind us!” He smiled as we drove away. “Happy Earth Day!”