goldfinchThe Goldfinch
Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)

At the Edges and the Side

menzel hedgehogsAdolf Menzel (1815 – 1905)

 
The Cage

It tried to get from out the cage;
Here and there it ran, and tried
At the edges and the side,
In a busy, timid rage.

Trying yet to find the key
Into freedom, trying yet,
In a timid rage to get
To its old tranquillity.

It did not know, it did not see,
It did not turn an eye, or care
That a man was watching there
While it raged so timidly.

It ran without a sound, it tried,
In a busy, timid rage,
To escape from out the cage
By the edges and the side.


James Stephens (1882 – 1950)

 

Brambles

rubus isham
Artist: Schutt, Ellen Isham, 1873-1955
Scientific name: Rubus
Common name: brambles
Variety: Eaton
Geographic origin: Leslie, Ingham County, Michigan, United States

Day Fly

hill fly

“an inoffensive race; born to pass thro’ their little stage of being, the prey to a thousand enemies; but hurtful to no creature”


John Hill (1714?-1775)

from A Decade of Curious Insects 

 

Autographa Gamma

goes mothJan Augustin van der Goes (c. 1690)
Autographa Gamma Moth

 

 

A Name for All 

Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page
And still wing on, untarnished of the name
We pinion to your bodies to assuage
Our envy of your freedom—we must maim
Because we are usurpers, and chagrined—
And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
But we must die, as you, to understand.
I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
As only they can praise, who build their days
With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
Struck free and holy in one Name always.


Hart Crane  (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932)

Alone

Summers_Fruitful_Pastures_-_Albert_Pinkham_Ryder“Summer’s Fruitful Pastures”
Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847 – 1917)

de Wonderen

de wonderenJan Sepp (1739-1811)

 

Monarch butterflies need milkweed. It is the only plant they can lay their eggs on and that the caterpillars can eat.

But the combination of genetically engineered corn and soy and weed killers like Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has wiped out nearly all the milkweed that used to grow along the monarchs’ migratory routes, leaving the butterflies nowhere to lay their eggs

Every fall, for thousands of years, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies have taken to the skies, flying more than 2,500 miles across Canada and the U.S. to reach their winter home in the thick forests of tall oyamel fir trees that grow in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.

This winter, only 33.5 million butterflies made it to Mexico – the lowest level ever reported.

Like honey bees and other pollinators, monarch butterflies are now in crisis, with populations plummeting dramatically since the introduction of herbicide-ready corn and soybean crops in 1997.

They may disappear. Soon.

The huge increase in the usage of GMO crops and the toxic herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup that accompany them is a major culprit for the monarch’s disappearance, along with rapid deforestation in Mexico and extreme weather caused by climate chaos.

The world needs monarch butterflies. But they can’t survive without milkweed. And milkweed can’t survive weed-killing chemicals . . .

Tell the USDA and the EPA to adopt tough restrictions on pesticide-resistant crops and the toxic herbicides responsible for the rapid disappearance of monarchs.

http://soe.salsalabs.com/o/1/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=383&track=2014_0717_Monarch_Butterfly

 

To the Innocents

 

Go, smiling souls, your new-built cages break,
In heaven you’ll learn to sing, ere here to speak,

Nor let the milky fonts that bathe your thirst
                                           Be your delay;
The place that calls you hence is, at the worst,
                                           Milk all the way.

 

Richard Crashaw (c. 1613 – 1649)

Published in: on July 18, 2014 at 5:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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No One Immune

insectsMatthäus Merian der Ältere  (1593 – 1650)

 

Our Bees, Ourselves
by Mark Winston, Op-ed contributor, The New York Times

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — AROUND the world, honeybee colonies are dying in huge numbers: About one-third of hives collapse each year, a pattern going back a decade.

Honeybee collapse has been particularly vexing because there is no one cause. The main elements include the compounding impact of pesticides applied to fields, as well as pesticides applied directly into hives to control mites; fungal, bacterial and viral pests and diseases; nutritional deficiencies caused by vast acreages of single-crop fields that lack diverse flowering plants; and, in the United States, commercial beekeeping itself, which disrupts colonies by moving most bees around the country multiple times each year to pollinate crops.

The real issue, though, is not the volume of problems, but the interactions among them. Here we find a core lesson from the bees that we ignore at our peril: the concept of synergy. A typical honeybee colony contains residue from more than 120 pesticides; together they form a toxic soup of chemicals whose interplay can substantially reduce the effectiveness of bees’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to diseases.

These findings provide the most sophisticated data set available for any species about synergies among pesticides, and between pesticides and disease. The only human equivalent is research into pharmaceutical interactions, with many prescription drugs showing harmful or fatal side effects when used together, particularly in patients who already are disease-compromised. Pesticides have medical impacts as potent as pharmaceuticals do, yet we know virtually nothing about their synergistic impacts on our health, or their interplay with human diseases.

Observing the tumultuous demise of honeybees should alert us that our own well-being might be similarly threatened. The honeybee is a remarkably resilient species that has thrived for 40 million years, and the widespread collapse of so many colonies presents a clear message: We must demand that our regulatory authorities require studies on how exposure to low dosages of combined chemicals may affect human health before approving compounds.

Bees also provide some clues to how we may build a more collaborative relationship with the services that ecosystems can provide. Beyond honeybees, there are thousands of wild bee species that could offer some of the pollination service needed for agriculture. Yet feral bees — that is, bees not kept by beekeepers — also are threatened by factors similar to those afflicting honeybees: heavy pesticide use, destruction of nesting sites by overly intensive agriculture and a lack of diverse nectar and pollen sources thanks to highly effective weed killers, which decimate the unmanaged plants that bees depend on for nutrition.

Recently, my laboratory at Simon Fraser University conducted a study on farms that produce canola oil that illustrated the profound value of wild bees. We discovered that crop yields, and thus profits, are maximized if considerable acreages of cropland are left uncultivated to support wild pollinators.

Such logic goes against conventional wisdom that fields and bees alike can be uniformly micromanaged. The current challenges faced by managed honeybees and wild bees remind us that we can manage too much. Excessive cultivation, chemical use and habitat destruction eventually destroy the very organisms that could be our partners.

And this insight goes beyond mere agricultural economics. There is a lesson in the decline of bees about how to respond to the most fundamental challenges facing contemporary human societies. We can best meet our own needs if we maintain a balance with nature — a balance that is as important to our health and prosperity as it is to the bees.

Spin

spider

Jan Augustin van der Goes
c. 1690

 

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