Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In Defense of Bugs (well, some of them)

There is an American expression, to "shoot yourself in the foot". It means to say or do something that ends up hurting yourself. 
I feel like this often applies to our approach to farming and the agricultural industry. There's no doubt that a country of 300+ million people needs to produce a lot of food, and we need to use large areas of land for farming.  But the way we farm can have a negative impact on bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. In the long run it hurts us and our ability to feed ourselves.  Without these natural pollinators, our food supply would be drastically reduced.  There has to be a better balance.

Excerpted from "Monarch Butterflies Keep Disappearing. Here's Why." by By Brad Plumer January 29, 2014 
Washington Post
"Lincoln Brower, a professor of biology at Sweet Briar College who has studied the monarch migrations for decades. In a 2012 paper, he cited three big reasons the populations are dwindling: Deforestation in Mexico, recent bouts of severe weather, and the growth of herbicide-based agriculture destroying crucial milkweed flora in the Midwest."
"….The most catastrophic thing from the point of view of the monarch butterfly has been the expansion of crops that are planted on an unbelievably wide scale throughout the Midwest and have been genetically manipulated to be resistant to the powerful herbicide Roundup."


  1. I absolutely agree. I am a great supporter here in the UK of the campaign to protect the bees; they are crucial pollinators, and modern farmland is not bee-friendly. One can encourage them by planting the right wildflowers in urban gardens.

  2. Yes! Individual people and farmers are becoming more aware and doing what they can to protect pollinators, but I would love to see it become a standard policy in the USA. In some parts of North America it is actually against the law to plant Milkweed.

  3. Well said, Kate! I made ‘When Bees Disappear’ in 2009. Bees and butterflies are important pollinating insects. Without them, the earth will become barren and flowers will be colorless. Because of lack of a harmonious combination of colors in nature, eyes seem to be damaged by light that never see the truth. Bees’ issues are a hint. With this concern, people should lay much emphasis on this issue, as well as remind people to leave the comfort zone.

    Environmental issues have been my concerns and that’s why I try to organize some events to draw people's attention, and hopefully we can make some changes.