In the past two weeks I have spent 5 days in Iowa, and then a week in Northern Wisconsin away from the agricultural belt. As I biked and walked in Iowa the lack of butterflies was disheartening. I even saw and smelled the Iowa DOT spraying along the highway. In contrast northern Wisconsin is more grass/hay country, lower pesticide use, and the butterflies aren’t like what I would like to see, but they are flitting around when you look for them. The bee population up north is still questionable, but better than what I saw in Iowa.
I agree with this excellent letter to the editor in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Thank you for “Bees at the brink” (June 29). Our rural surroundings have changed since we moved to south-central Minnesota in 1960. Our small farms have mostly disappeared, and our once-vibrant town struggles to stay alive. There was much more variety in the landscape: I remember picking strawberries along Hwy. 169 with my children; we heard and saw meadow larks and pheasants, and clouds of monarch butterflies were a part of every spring and summer. Now what do we have? Corn and soybeans from horizon to horizon; hedgerows with their diversity of plants and animal life gouged out; wetlands drained, and herbicides ensuring that few bee-friendly flowers grow on roadsides and lawns. Our state and federal supports, with their continuing crop insurance programs — even for marginal land — and cutbacks on set-aside acreage such as CRP and CREP help to perpetuate the increasing sterility of our natural environment.
Economic success should not be the only determinant of wealth. We lose too much if it is.
Maria Lindberg, Blue Earth, Minn.
http://www.startribune.com/local/264929101.html?site=full&c=n&stfeature= This is the link to the Bee article she is referring to.
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/265857781.html Autism Risk is Linked to Pesticides