Death of a Species

The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear –

This is scary – only 3 million monarch butterflies have shown up to their wintering ground in Mexico.  Last year it was only 60 million, and in times past it was a billion.  These butterflies fly over 2,000 miles from North America to a particular group of fir-covered mountaintops west of Mexico City.

This year they didn’t make it.

The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear -

Another insect in serious trouble is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.

That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.

The high price of corn has lead to the plowing and planting of previously “weedy” land which provided food for bugs and birds.  The use of Round-Up ready GMO seeds means that any weeds are killed by the application of pesticides, while the corn continues to grow.  Unfortunately, Monarchs don’t feed on corn.

The loss of bugs is no small matter. Insects help stitch together the web of life with essential services, breaking plants down into organic matter, for example, and dispersing seeds. They are a prime source of food for birds. Critically, some 80 percent of our food crops are pollinated by insects, primarily the 4,000 or so species of the flying dust mops called bees. “All of them are in trouble,” said Marla Spivak, a professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota.

Another cause is people – we pave over subdivisions, and then plant showy plants that aren’t good for bugs.

Trees and other plants have beneficial chemicals essential to the health of bugs. Some monarchs, when afflicted with parasites, seek out more toxic types of milkweed because they kill the parasites. Bees use medicinal resins from aspen and willow trees that are antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral, to line their nests and to fight infection and diseases.

Not only are we killing off the bugs, we are inadvertently killing ourselves:

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.”

2012 US Migration

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012 | vizynary.

Approximately 7.1 million Americans moved to another state in 2012. That’s over 2.2% of the U.S. population.

Where did they come from?  Where did they go?  Take a look!


What about Texas?  We hear there are 500 people a week moving to Austin.  Does this match the data from the census bureau?


500 a Week to Austin is 26,000.  That leaves another 80,000 people who moved someplace else in Texas – Houston, El Paso, Lubbock?  Where are they?  What kind of jobs will they find?  What skills will they need?  How will we pay to educate their children, pave their roads, provide their water?

peoplemovin – A visualization of migration flows

peoplemovin – A visualization of migration flows.

So where are immigrants to Russia from?


Population: 139,390,205

Immigrants: 12,270,388

% of population: 8.8%

Migrant native countries

Amazing that they’re all from former Soviet states.  Why is that?

This and other fascinating visualizations at the website.

Megaslums – The Solution?

Dhaka Bangladesh | Megacity | Urbanization.

Depending on how one measures, the planet now boasts 20 or so megacities — urban agglomerations where the United Nations estimates the population has reached 10 million or more. The world’s rapid urbanization is a reality fraught with both peril and hope. The peril is obvious. Overcrowding, pollution, poverty, impossible demands for energy and water all result in an overwhelming sense these megacities will simply collapse. But the hope, while less obvious, needs more attention. The potential efficiencies of urban living, the access to health care and jobs, along with plummeting urban birth rates have all convinced some environmental theorists the migration to cities may in fact save the planet. But only, these experts hasten to add, if this shift is well managed.

Movin’ on Down the Road

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