We are in the midst of an ecological catastroph, bees and butterflies are disappearing


Vanishing Butterflies and Dying Bees

The European Environment Agency just published a study about butterflies in Europe. It shows that from 1990 to today, over a period of 20 years, the butterfly population was reduced by 50%. The reasons for this disappearance are increased agriculture, and the overall reduction of wild meadows. Butterflies are a major contributor to biodiversity. They feed primarily on nectar from flowers, and they get nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, and decaying flesh. They have a crucial ecological function for plants, because they carry flower pollen, occasionally over great distances, from one plant to another.

Butterflies are not the only insects under distress. Bees pollinate about 70 to 80 percent of the world’s agricultural crops, like apples, celery, cucumbers, asparagus, onions, cauliflower, carrots, cranberries, and almonds. All these fruits and vegetables relay on bees for reproduction, but the bees are dying. We are witnessing a dramatic reduction in the bee population worldwide. Between 2006 and 2011, approximately 30% of bees have disappeared, due to a problem termed “Colony Collapse Disorder”, or CCD. This happens for a variety of reasons: The wide-spread use of pesticides, new types of diseases and parasites, and environmental stress, like loss of habitat, contaminated water, or shifting weather patterns due to global warming.

We are in the midst of an ecological catastrophe. An overall population decrease of bees worldwide by 30%, and butterflies by 50% over 20 years, is the sign of an ecological disaster in the making. These devastating changes can most likely not be solved by simple solutions, but can only be addressed by more systemic shifts. We have to change our relationship to nature, and we have to learn how to respect the deep interconnectedness that constitutes the natural cycles that support us.


Butterflies and bees need a boost


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