In responding to a wonderful post by Steve, over at Portraits of Wildflowers, I found myself summarizing a lot of material I’ve been reading and studying. If you don’t mind my getting on a soapbox for a minute, I’ve copied that response here. I was surprised the other day when chatting with friends about the loss of bees and butterflies. These ladies had been reading about it, and were concerned, but had no idea that their own actions were contributing to it. When I said something about the use of lawn chemicals, they were stunned. That really got me thinking….maybe this just isn’t being communicated, and maybe I’d better speak up. It can look disquieting to us to see nature doing odd things, but plants, insects and animals will all have to do some adjusting to the new realities we humans are bringing about and we will have to let go of our notions of what things are “supposed” to look like. I’ve been reading some interesting studies that show that in some areas plants are greening up and blooming earlier, while other species in the same ecosystem are actually blooming later. They are seeing the same pattern in birds, with some arriving earlier and others arriving later. Some species will no doubt wink out, which will be very sad, while other species will thrive and take over new territory. We can either see them as invaders, and fight them, or we can watch and allow nature to adjust in her own way. Even if we weren’t causing the widespread changes we are, by importing species and by warming the climate, there would continue to be flux. This is something many in the ecological field struggle to remember. That said, decades of field study shows that we have already lost 35% of our insects, worldwide. That is definitely somber news. The studies reveal that both insectivore and predatory insects are being lost, and so now the mechanisms that are causing it need to be discovered. Some are obvious, such as habitat loss. Anyone who is willing to create a wild corner in their yard will be helping create habitat. What is best is if neighbors band together to create contiguous bands of habitat running through neighborhoods. This can support a surprising number of species. Also, the use of chemicals needs to be curtailed. Statistics show that homeowners use considerably more chemicals than agriculture does, and these chemicals don’t simply go away. They filter down to the subsoil and the water table, forming chemical soups that are exceedingly toxic. We can all do something about this, by planting native plants in our yards, forgo the weed&feed, and encourage farmers to grow organically by buying organic produce.

Blazing Stars and Swallowtail

Also, I’m sorry about the appearance of this post. WordPress has “blessed” me with blocks, and I can’t figure out how to get rid of them.


  1. The swallowtail in your painting coincides with the fact that the Indian paintbrushes that have been so abundant during our day trips these past few weeks are big attractors of swallowtails, of which I’ve noticed quite a few.

    For some time I’ve been seeing a statement in my WordPress dashboard encouraging me to switch to the new block editor. If there were a way to switch back if I tried it and didn’t like it, I might give it a shot, but I don’t want to risk losing the facility I’ve built up over the years. I did find a tutorial that might help you deal with the blocks:


  2. That’s a beautiful painting, and a solid post.
    In this morning’s paper: it may be due to mutations from the widespread use of fungicides on crops, but hospitals around the world, including NY and IL, are now encountering drug-resistant fungal infections that can be deadly. They describe how incredibly difficult it is, to even sterilize the hospital room after someone’s been treated, so even the ceiling and floor tiles have to be ripped out.


    1. Oh my God, that is terrifying. And I’ve been reading about a fungus that is killing oak trees, and another that is killing bats, and another that is killing amphibians. Who knew it would be fungus that would take us out?
      Thank you for saying that, Robert. I feel uncomfortable up on a soapbox, but it felt wrong to keep what I’ve learned to myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Between chemicals, invasive plants that crowd out the food sources of native insects, and the transformations from climate change, the changes in the natural world are unsettling. It’s hard to know what to do about the larger issues, but at least we can change our gardening practices.


  4. That is a beautiful painting.
    I’ve been thinking along similar lines, and about how it is all connected. If we humans are going to keep messing with things, I hope we do so in a way that is beneficial to all beings. And bee’ings. 🙂


    1. Thank you Robin! We very seldom mess with things in a beneficial way, especially the powerful among us. But individuals can choose not to take a straw or a single-use plastic bag, and we can plant native plants in our gardens. I love that~ bee’ings. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The breezy light in this painting is gorgeous! As for the message, it feels overwhelming, all the bad news about the environment. I do what I can, and i know I could do more…but I’m grateful when I read good news – today, an article about loggerhead turtles returning to nest on islands off Georgia.


    1. Thank you!
      I agree, it is overwhelming to realize that almost every aspect of our current civilization is killing life on this beautiful planet, but there are good things happening and it is important to keep focusing on them. I read somewhere that what we focus on grows, so let’s focus on good news!


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