Celebrating Butterflies

Hobomok skipper on Canadian anemone

I love butterflies, and National Pollinator Week gives me an excuse to concentrate on what brings butterflies to my yard and to my walking routes. This week I learned two new skipper butterflies: the hobomok skipper and Arctic skipper.  Both are crazy for wild geranium, The yellow swallow-tail, painted lady and admirals are plentiful now also, and a few monarchs are checking out the milkweed.  Also, this week I saw one pearl crescent and a silvery blue.

Arctic skipper on wild geranium

Favorite butterfly books

Below are two books that help me identify butterflies, and here is an on-line butterfly guide.

Have fun land I hope you enjoy butterflies as much as I do!  Get out for a walk and look!

 

An American painted lady

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Happy Summer!

Get Outside and Enjoy!

Today is a new day. It’s the first day of summer. Go for a walk, listen to the birds chirping. Take in the fragrance of the Earth. And resolve to keep fighting for what you believe in.” Dan Rather

 

Enjoy!

” I allow myself to appreciate each moment for the richness it brings to my life.” Attitude of Gratitude

 

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This is Pollinator Week

What butterflies can you find this week?

An American painted lady

What plants bring pollinators to your yard?

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Everything Is Connected

The Mississippi Watershed by Jon Platek This how trash can reach the ocean.

This morning while walking around the lake by my house, I was sad to see plastic bottles bobbing around in the lake. The amazing thing is that those plastic bottles from a lake in land-locked Minnesota could end up in the Gulf of Mexico. 80% of marine litter originates from land. The Minnehaha Creek drains this lake into the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Plastic in a Minneapolis lake, could float the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, these plastic bottles and bags are a dangerous threat to marine life, and they are unpleasant to water recreation.

I am sure you know most of the ways to avoid plastic, but you might learn something from this list on reducing plastic use. The excellent list below is from the NRDC https://www.nrdc.org/:

“Plastic, of course, is uniquely problematic because it’s nonbiodegradable and therefore sticks around for a lot longer (like up to 1,000 years longer) than other forms of trash. And we’re not just talking about people dumping their garbage overboard. Around 80 percent of marine litter actually originates on land—either swept in from the coastline or carried to rivers from the streets during heavy rain via storm drains and sewer overflows.

So the best thing we can do to protect our waterways is trying to keep as much plastic as possible out of the waste stream in the first place. The good news? There are many small ways you can have a big impact.

1. Wean yourself off disposable plastics.

Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then chucked: grocery bags, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee-cup lids. Take note of how often you rely on these products and replace them with reusable versions. It only takes a few times of bringing your own bags to the store, silverware to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks before it becomes habit.

2. Stop buying water.

Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. Carry a reusable bottle in your bag, and you’ll never be caught having to resort to a Poland Spring or Evian again. If you’re nervous about the quality of your local tap water, look for a model with a built-in filter.

3. Boycott microbeads.

Those little plastic scrubbers found in so many beauty products—facial scrubs, toothpaste, body washes—might look harmless, but their tiny size allows them to slip through water-treatment plants. Unfortunately, they also look just like food to some marine animals. Opt for products with natural exfoliants, like oatmeal or salt, instead.

4. Cook more.

Not only is it healthier, but making your own meals doesn’t involve takeout containers or doggy bags. For those times when you do order in or eat out, tell the establishment you don’t need any plastic cutlery or, for some serious extra credit, bring your own food-storage containers to restaurants for leftovers.

5. Purchase items secondhand.

New toys and electronic gadgets, especially, come with all kinds of plastic packaging—from those frustrating hard-to-crack shells to twisty ties. Search the shelves of thrift stores, neighborhood garage sales, or online postings for items that are just as good when previously used. You’ll save yourself a few bucks, too.

6. Recycle (duh).

It seems obvious, but we’re not doing a great job of it. For example, less than 14 percent of plastic packaging is recycled. Confused about what can and can’t go in the bin? Check out the number on the bottom of the container. Most beverage and liquid cleaner bottles will be #1 (PET), which is commonly accepted by most curbside recycling companies. Containers marked #2 (HDPE; typically slightly heavier-duty bottles for milk, juice, and laundry detergent) and #5 (PP; plastic cutlery, yogurt and margarine tubs, ketchup bottles) are also recyclable in some areas. For the specifics on your area, check out Earth911.org’s recycling directory.

7. Support a bag tax or ban.

Urge your elected officials to follow the lead of those in San Francisco, Chicago, and close to 150 other cities and counties by introducing or supporting legislation that would make plastic-bag use less desirable.

8. Buy in bulk.

Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, tiny packages of nuts—consider the product-to-packaging ratio of items you tend to buy often and select the bigger container instead of buying several smaller ones over time.

9. Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaner.

Invest in a zippered fabric bag and request that your cleaned items be returned in it instead of sheathed in plastic. (And while you’re at it, make sure you’re frequenting a dry cleaner that skips the perc, a toxic chemical found in some cleaning solvents.)

10. Put pressure on manufacturers.

Though we can make a difference through our own habits, corporations obviously have a much bigger footprint. If you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging, make your voice heard. Write a letter, send a tweet, or hit them where it really hurts: Give your money to a more sustainable competitor.” NRDC

I would add one thing to the list. Never use Styrofoam! Some stores package fruits and vegetables on Styrofoam trays! Awful.

Finally, current status of the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities from Friends of the Mississippi.

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Learn From The Past

Bring your own reusable bag

I know people get tired of my harping on plastic, but plastic is a serious world problem. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition the average shopper uses 500 plastic bags a year, and that is just bags, not all the other plastic products.  This is not sustainable!

I love thinking of how my grandparents lived, and how it is different from today. I loved this post from One Green Planet about what we can learn from the past and from our grandparents. Read it here.

Below is a quote from One Green Planet which show how serious this plastic issue is!

“In the past 30 years alone, the amount of plastic produced worldwide has increased by 620 percent! On average, that equates to 300 million tons of plastic a year. Of this 300 million tons, about 8.8 million tons find their way into the world’s oceans where they are left to slowly photodegrade into smaller pieces – and by slowly, we mean over the course of 100 to 1,000 years. When you consider the huge volume that is added to the oceans every year and the fact that plastics never really “go away,” we find our oceans crowded with a massive soupy mixture of harmful plastic products. This sadly has a massive impact on the marine animals who call our oceans home. Around 700 marine species are in danger of extinction due to entanglement, ingestion or general pollution caused by our plastic trash.”

Our grandparents didn’t have the choices and variety we do.  They cooked and ate hearty food on real dishes, but most important they conserved, reused, and didn’t throw everything away like we do today! I would stay with my grand parents for a week and we didn’t need to run to the store to buy buy buy. We used what we had.

What do you remember about how your grandparents did things?

Even remote islands are collecting our plastic trash

http://www.refillrevolution.com/

https://health4earth.com/2017/02/19/the-horrifying-impact-of-plastic-pollution/

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World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day and Meatless Monday. Do something good for our earth today.

From Ecowatch, 10 tweets worth reading. Read here

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Its Good News!

Electric Cars:

**Norway, the world’s happiest country, knocks it out of the park again. Watch PBS at Norway

**India plans to make every car electric by 2030, and Volvo is going to make its first electric cars.

Renewable energy 

**Germany and Scotland break renewable energy records.  Read about it at Scotland   and at Germany  

And, more good news….

** Switzerland says yes to renewables, and to exit from nuclear power.

**California Senate passes legislation to go 100% renewables by 2045

 

Renewable Energy Generates Jobs for Nearly 10 Million People

Education news:

**Wonderful news, Tennessee–Is going to offer free community college

**Wind Power Gives Oklahoma Schools a Lifeline During Budget Cuts. Read about it at lifeline 

This is my occasional series on good news.

 

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