Rib­bon of but­ter­flies 500 miles wide brings hope

T.O.’s milkweed ma­nia de­liv­ers mon­archs

North York Post - - Currents -

In these tur­bu­lent po­lit­i­cal times, in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries are more im­por­tant than ever. Here’s one about how peo­ple power is fu­elling a sur­pris­ing come­back.

It starts with a quiet dis­ap­pear­ance that grad­u­ally builds to a his­toric wave of or­ange. And it may of­fer a balm for the seem­ingly end­less bar­rage of neg­a­tive news.

Folks in Eastern Canada may have no­ticed some­thing joy­ous in the air this sum­mer: an abun­dance of monarch but­ter­flies. Af­ter a cou­ple of decades of de­cline, it ap­pears mon­archs had a great sum­mer, cul­mi­nat­ing in an unusu­ally strong mi­gra­tion over the past few weeks, with rib­bons of or­ange “500 miles wide” flow­ing south­ward.

The re­turn of mon­archs is great news, be­cause only four years ago their sit­u­a­tion looked bleak. The eastern monarch pop­u­la­tion had plum­meted from one bil­lion two decades be­fore to only 35 mil­lion.

The dra­matic de­cline spurred the David Suzuki Foun­da­tion’s first #Got­milk­weed cam­paign. The foun­da­tion of­fered milkweed plants, which mon­archs re­quire for sur­vival, al­though there was some un­cer­tainty about how many cus­tomers would be in­ter­ested in this par­tic­u­lar type of “weed.”

Cana­di­ans’ col­lec­tive love for mon­archs and the ur­gency of their plight trans­lated into brisk sales,

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