The Viridian Design Movement

From: Bruce Sterling []

Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2003 3:48 PM

Subject: Viridian Note 00364: Pretty Butterflies

Key concepts
monarch butterflies, resistance to climate change, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
Attention Conservation Notice:
Deliberately makes no mention whatsoever of desert warfare, raging street protests, or giant thermobaric bombs


Our protagonist, Danaus plexippus.

Some butterflies use high-tech, advanced photonic crystals!

This mindboggling panorama of the entire coastline of California might come in handy if you migrate by flapping your wings.

Maybe druidess Julia "Butterfly" Hill will flap in to the next PlaNetwork.

Sometimes even slimy microbes aspire to the elegance of butterflies.

What could beat the Viridian-artsiness of a German-made Andy Goldsworthy movie? Call the local artfilm nook and demand that they book it, so you can stop reading warblogs.

Planet Ark, story by Karina Balderas

"Monarch butterflies recover from killer freeze

MEXICO: March 14, 2003

"OCAMPO, Mexico == Famed for a mysterious annual migration from Canada to Mexico, Monarch butterflies have shown a remarkable tenacity by recovering from a cold snap in Mexico last year that killed at least 65 million of them.

(((That's right == this Viridian Note conveys really good news about butterflies!)))

"Tens of millions of black and orange Monarchs neared the end of their winter sojourn in the mountains of central Mexico this week to the relief of biologists who feared their numbers would be seriously depleted this year."

(((There are zillions of 'em! The glorious megafauna of the insect world!)))

"'We were waiting anxiously because we didn't know whether the butterfly phenomenon would be repeated after such a big kill,' said biologist Marco Antonio Bernal, director of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacan state."

(((They've got a special biosphere reserve named just after them alone!)))

"'We were astonished to see that, with good conditions in the United States and Canada, they could recover their population density and come to Mexico,' he said."

(((They're blowing the minds of trained experts!)))

"Believed to be guided by the sun or the earth's magnetic field, Monarch communities fly several thousand miles from Canada and the northern United States to Mexico every year, arriving in October and November."

(((Nobody's got the least idea how they do it, but they don't even care, they just do it!)))

"Monarchs spend winter in the pine-clad mountains of Michoacan state and the state of Mexico and fly to Canada in the spring."

(((They were NAFTA before there was NAFTA! They pay not the least attention to paranoid security measures at the borders of the United States!)))

"Butterflies die during migration but also mate, making it possible for their descendants to complete the journey."

(((It's a stark but triumphant confrontation with sex and death!)))

"The migration fascinates scientists, who did not realize where the insects went every year until the mid- 1970s."

(((Would we could all return to those halcyon years of soaring gas prices and Viet Nam == oh wait, never mind that part.)))

"'It is the only insect capable of making such a long journey, that's why it is called the Monarch,' said Mexican biologist Alejandra Hinojosa."

(((A blatant lie, but hey, for a scientist, that is so poetic!)))

"Officials said some 83 million butterflies returned to Mexico this season to occupy 8.3 hectares of a 56,000- hectare reserve, 155 miles (250 km) from Mexico City."

"Last year, reserve officials put the population at 93 million occupying 9.3 hectares, of which an estimated 65 million died when temperatures fell unexpectedly in January, 2002.

"The cold snap led scientists to question whether the number of butterflies making the annual trek is actually much higher than previously thought. One scientific count estimated 270 million dead, or double the high end of previous estimates of the annual Mexico migration."

(((But they're back, that's the point! They took a body-hit, went back to the eggs and cocoons and came back in a solid airborne horde! Those little guys are tougher than Mexican cactus!)))

"Floating like leaves amid the Oyamel fir trees, the butterflies engage in a final ritual before leaving Mexico: an airborne mating dance. By the end of March the forest will be virtually empty of them as they head north."

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O

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