George Graham

Spare the Butterflies




I cannot imagine a world without butterflies. They lift up my heart as they flit among the flowers in my garden and soar above the orange trees in the back yard.

Those bright yellow ones are the flashiest but I find all of them delightful, even the modest brownish or grayish ones. And I am in awe of the Monarchs.

I don’t even mind when they cluster on the oleander, leaving a marauding horde of caterpillars. I know those grubs will one day emerge as incredible creatures, able to migrate thousands of miles to decorate the summer for those of you who live in the North (photo, map above).

Of course, the butterflies are not here just forĀ our enjoyment – or admiration. They play an essential role in Mother Nature’s plan. When they visit an orange (or apple) blossom to drink its nectar, they pollinate it, and we get fruit to eat.

Sadly, the magnificent Monarch is in danger.

I received an email this morning from the Natural Resources Defense Council, with the alarming news that a new Dow Chemical herbicide could spell the extinction of the species.

The herbicide would wipe out the milkweed that Monarchs need to survive, the email warned. The NRDC is seeking support in its legal campaign to keep the poison off the market.

We’re lucky to have organizations like the NRDC to keep the dollar-driven agriculture barons in check. We humans are far too eager to poison the world around us in our distaste for “pests” and our focus on food production.

The wholesale extermination of honey bees is one example of the havoc we humans wreak in our selfish pursuit of our own narrow interests.

We do not live by bread alone. We live in a holistic environment, which is sustainable only by protecting all of its myriad parts.

If we mindlessly kill off other creatures, such as bees and butterflies, we, too, will eventually become extinct.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for