Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Remember the butterflies?

When was the last time you saw a butterfly?

These beautiful creatures are one of the first things I noticed when in Costa Rica. Apparently, there are over 200 different kinds living in the region.

The sight of these creatures instantly took me back to my childhood in Virginia. There were literally tons around. Now when I go home, I rarely see them.

While, I am sure development plays a large part in this, I think it is also a side effect of the Monsanto world. I remember years ago reading published studies that genetically engineered Bt corn was linked to the decline of the monarch butterfly population. (Yes, this is the same corn that has splices an insecticide in the corn DNA and also conveniently only responds to Monsanto-branded Roundup pesticides). The population is said to have declined as much as 75 percent in the U.S.!

I don't think I fully grasped the impact of all this until my trip. I didn't realize how much I missed the butterflies until I saw them in this other land. To me, the butterfly has always been a symbol of transformation (you know ugly, fat caterpillar goes into cocoon and becomes lovely, airy butterfly).

Can you imagine using the same metaphor to inspire our kids, only to get, "What is a butterfly?" Perhaps we should all eat a bit more organic corn.

*Photo courtesy of Lotus Ryan

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