Helping the Monarch Butterfly
Last evening, I was thrilled to see several female Monarch butterflies laying eggs on the milkweed plants in our summer campground on Mount Desert Island. Monarchs have always held a special place in my heart. Prior to retiring, I was an elementary school teacher and principal. I raised monarchs in my classroom. These orange, black and white beauties are a fantastic example of the cycle of life and migratory insects.
The monarch has been in trouble in recent years. Over the past 20 years, monarch populations have plummeted due to loss of habitat, weather events, pesticides and climate change. Monarchs are one of the very few insects that migrate.
The biggest threat to monarch populations is loss of habitat. Milkweed is the only “ host plant” the monarch caterpillar will eat. Due to spraying of pesticides and the cutting down of milkweed plants, which many consider an invasive, the monarch caterpillar little to eat.
In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned to protect the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act. I have not heard of the outcome of the petition. But I am encouraged by what I see on MDI: Large tracts of common milkweed have been allowed to grow in many areas, giving these beautiful butterflies a chance to survive.
I hope that this type of initiative will continue throughout Maine so that future generations can watch the brilliant orange, black and white monarch gently flutter by, sparking the wonder of nature for all to enjoy.
The power of words
Sen. Susan Collins knows that words matter.
Collins called white supremacy an “evil” that is “a threat to the fabric of our society” in responding to the most recent mass shootings. Yet, according to Maine Public, she doesn’t think Trump’s rhetoric is connected to these events, and she doesn’t believe that white supremacists have been emboldened under this president.
Until the senator is willing to explicitly call out her president’s repeated stoking of the fires of racism and bigotry in this country, her words ring hollow.
This president is failing in his most basic duty as president: Keeping Americans safe. By not acknowledging the reality that’s staring us in the face, Collins is failing us too.
King part of the problem
After the most recent mass shootings, I Googled Sen. Angus King on guns. I found a 2013 interview with the BDN. Worth a watch.
King makes a strong case of why people shouldn’t expect government and ineffectual leaders like himself to create change. King waffles with great sincerity and gravitas. He prevaricates senatorially about the seriousness of problems. He conveys he understands the importance of getting gun owners’ input. With solemnity, he adds that mental health is an important part of the equation.
The bottom line is, King doesn’t support banning assault weapons. He doesn’t think it will work.
While listening to King, one realizes American-style democracy is ripe for disruption. Just like other stale, ineffective institutions. We must look beyond Congress for leadership and change. Wal-Mart employees are staging a walkout to protest gun sales. Wal-Mart employees apparently have more guts than our timid senator.
King is not part of a solution. He is a risk-averse impediment. People are weary and know this doesn’t work.