Thursday, November 28, 2013

Disappearing butterflies and honeybees, and eating chemical weapon laced corn chips

We saw very few butterflies this year. We saw a few tiger swallowtails, fritillary butterflies and white cabbage butterflies.

When we lived in Lower Frederick Township in MonCo we planted swamp milkweed. We had a few chrysalis on the milkweed.

Milkweed is a host plant for monarch butterflies. Massive corn planting to make ethanol and the herbicide used in corn farming is destroying the milkweed and the monarchs. 

New York Times
Sunday, November 24, 2013

“ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned.

This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse….

There’s no question that the loss of habitat is huge,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, who has long warned of the perils of disappearing insects. “We notice the monarch and bees because they are iconic insects,” he said. “But what do you think is happening to everything else?”

A big part of it is the way the United States farms. As the price of corn has soared in recent years, driven by federal subsidies for biofuels, farmers have expanded their fields. That has meant plowing every scrap of earth that can grow a corn plant, including millions of acres of land once reserved in a federal program for conservation purposes.

Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it.

As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out…

There are numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to rebuilding native plant communities one sterile lawn and farm field at a time. Dr. Tallamy, a longtime evangelizer for native plants, and the author of one of the movement’s manuals, “Bringing Nature Home,” says it’s a cause everyone with a garden or yard can serve. And he says support for it needs to develop quickly to slow down the worsening crisis in biodiversity.

When the Florida Department of Transportation last year mowed down roadside wildflowers where monarch butterflies fed on their epic migratory journey, “there was a huge outcry,” said Eleanor Dietrich, a wildflower activist in Florida. So much so, transportation officials created a new policy that left critical insect habitat un-mowed.

That means reversing the hegemony of chemically green lawns. “If you’ve got just lawn grass, you’ve got nothing,” said Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society, a leading organization in insect conservation. “But as soon as you create a front yard wildflower meadow you go from an occasional honeybee to a lawn that might be full of 20 or 30 species of bees and butterflies and monarchs.”

First and foremost, said Dr. Tallamy, a home for bugs is a matter of food security. “If the bees were to truly disappear, we would lose 80 percent of the plants,” he said. ‘That is not an option. That’s a huge problem for mankind.”


There is a way that ordinary people can fight for monarchs and honeybees on their own property.

Lawn grass is Americas largest crop. A figure that I heard is that 1 TRILLION pounds of chemicals are used on American lawns. 

Lawns once had clover, dandelions, tiny wild strawberries and other plants besides grass. The golf green or wall to wall carpet lawn developed after World War II. It came along with power mowers and lawn chemical companies. 

By having less lawn grass and more native plants we can do something to stem the tide of extinction for monarch butterflies and honeybees or at least make us feel like we are, doing something. 

I wonder it people would stop using  insecticides and herbicides on their yards if they read "Silent Spring" by Rachael Carson and knew the chemicals we use on our lawns and put in our food are basicly diluted nerve gas and other chemical weapons stockpiled during World War II. 

You know those little signs put there to remind you to keep small animals and children off the grass the lawn company applied chemicals to? Well, nerve gas isn't good for children and small animals. 

With the exception of organically grown products; most corn, potato or soybean products sold in the USA are bioengineered. The largest selling bioengineered seeds are Monsanto brand. If it doesn't say "organically grown", almost every corn, potato or soybean food product you can buy is likely to have some Monsanto Roundup Herbicide in it. 

As any farmer can tell you, after some time using agricultural herbicides and insecticides you need to use more to get the same effect. And after a long time using herbicides and insecticides they don't work at all. 

The weeds that Monsanto's Roundup is supposed to eliminate have grown tolerant to Roundup. So Monsanto and Dow Chemical have put their poisons together to make a new more potent herbicide. 

It's going to get worse.  

Do you remember Dioxin, in the Love Canal and Agent Orange in Vietnam?

By Randy Alfred  Email 11.21.08

Soon it was learned that Hooker had buried 200 tons of dioxin at Love Canal, that residents suffered a high rate of miscarriages, birth defects and chromosomal damage, and that 10 percent could develop cancer.
U.S. Rep. Al Gore (D-Tennessee) charged in 1979 that the tragedy had been avoidable. He publicized a 1958 internal Hooker Chemical memo, describing three or four kids burned by materials at the Love Canal waste site. The first lawsuits were filed in 1979.

“Agent Orange is a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1962 to 1971 during Operation Ranch Hand in the Vietnam War to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover.”

Sometime in 2014 that bag of chips you're eating might contain Agent Orange and, or dioxin:

“To date, no fewer than seven environmental statutes bear on the registration and deregulation of this crop, bred to withstand high levels of herbicides, including 2,4-D, technically known as a chlorinated phenoxy acid in ester form, which comprised what was commonly called Agent Orange, known for the orange stripe around the 55-gallon drums in which this insidious defoliant was stored and shipped during the Vietnam War."

Sayer Ji
Wed, 12 Sep 2012 05:00 CDT
"Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) recently announced their development of genetically-engineered corn, soybean, and cotton plants metabolically resistant to the herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a major ingredient in Agent Orange. What this means for our future is that, if approved for use, vast regions of our country will soon be sprayed with a chemical that has been linked to over 400,000 birth defects in Vietnam. Dow’s Controversial New GMO Corn Delayed Amid Protests."

Dow's new seeds are resistant to "Enlist". "Enlist contains 2,4 D.

2,4-D brings us back to Rachel Carson and “Silent Spring”:
The 2,4-D in Dow AgroSciences, Enlist Bioengineered Corn was originally developed for chemical warfare during World War II:

"2,4-D was co-discovered independently in both the US and the UK in 1941. The two teams involved were "Templeman and Colleagues at ICI" (USA) and "Nutman and Collaborators at Rothamsted Experimental Station" (UK). In both cases the researchers were part of a clandestine wartime effort by their governments, to create chemical warfare agents for use in WWII. For further reading, see section 7.1 of "Herbicides and Plant Physiology By Andrew H. Cobb, John P. H. Reade"
The new chemical's ability to kill weeds was entirely accidental and not the aim of the research in either country. Because of war-time defense security reasons as well as for international legal reasons, research of this sort was never done openly. Research, production and use of chemical warfare agents were illegal actions under the Geneva Protocol and many other international treaties signed by both the USA and the UK. This meant that a plausible cover story was needed to hide the actual nature of any chemical warfare research. For both the Allies and the Axis powers, the civilian label of agricultural was often used to conceal illegal and/or secret chemical warfare research."


 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia