I got a letter today from the Environmental Defense Fund, asking me to help me save the butterflies. Their suggestion is that I should send them money so that they can fight climate change, and therefore save the butterflies. They included some little notecards with photos of butterflies–the monarch, the eastern tiger swallowtail, the common blue (from Europe), and the blue morpho (from South America).
Now saving butterflies is a noble cause. So is fighting global warming. There are butterflies whose habitats and whose existence are threatened by global warming.
There are better ways to try to save butterflies, however. Plant a pollinator garden in your back yard. Don’t mow so much. Support efforts to preserve or establish native prairie plants. All of those ways are more effective, and you can see the results.
The top two photos are of silver-spotted skippers, and the one right below it is a gorgone checkerspot. Those butterflies were thriving in my back yard this summer because I planted native plants and let them grow tall. The bottom photo is a regal fritillary which pretty much needs original prairie areas along with its host plants prairie violet or bird’s foot violet to thrive. I don’t expect to find it in my back yard.
Of course we need to fight global warming. But if you want to save butterflies, start in your back yard.