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A man repopulated a rare butterfly species in his backyard (2016) (vox.com)
205 points by rococode 31 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 59 comments



Is interesting that there are two species repopulated here, not one, but the most interesting of both is disregarded.

Aristolochia is easy to culture, even if it grows like a climbing tangled mess. If you want to do something similar in your garden do it, will be a rewarding activity, but remember that this plant should not be touched with bare hands frequently.

Neither be drank. Is claimed by chinese medecine as having some properties as herbal tea but in fact it contains Aristolochic acids, that are known as carcinogenic and nephrotoxic substances. Renal failure is perfectly possible.

Enjoying this strange mottled creature with your eyes is perfectly safe. For the rest, use garden gloves.


I searched a bit. This species is not endangered, it is spread over CA, just very very rare in SF. (Also there might be a subspecies, not really sure).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battus_philenor_hirsuta

https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Battus-philenor


Fantastic. Makes me want to see what I can do to benefit the Scottish ecosystem just a little. I've heard planting a patch of wildflowers in your garden is a good start.


Plant natives that are suited to your soil type and support bees. Wildflowers might not be good because they generally need less-fertile soil than a tended garden. Also put out bee houses and bird nesting sites, and leave autumn leaf fall in situ overwinter as a place for critters to hibernate.


and support bees

And all other pollinating species as well, there's way more than just bees :) But good adivce about native plants: around here there's a bit of a hype in certain circles and people are all over what they call 'bee plants' but forget that non-native plants which happen to have pretty flowers usually do not provide anything but nectar for a couple of generalist species, so not all native ones, plus don't take part in the reproduction cycle because they aren't wanted food for the caterpillars.

To get native plants, which support the most biodiversity, essentially the best thing you can do in a lot of situations is: not too much. Leave your lawn grow, current herbs (if any) will develop and other will fly in as seeds. Then for instance mow once in spring and once at the end of the summer (hard to tell eaxctly, depends on what grows currently and soil type). Remove what you mow: otherwise the nutrients make it back into the soil so the fast-growing plants which thrive on nitrogen (grass, nettles) get a jumpstart while the slower growing ones (most flowering ones) don't get a chance and won't get enough space and light. Don't mow everything at once, you'd take away shelter and housing for may fauna. Likewise be sure to leave pathches uncut during winter in order to e.g. not get rid of the eggs of butterflies. After one or more years you should see transition into a native meadow i.e. also flowering herbs instead of just grass.


Do you have any further reading?


Ah, memories of my youth: Create a Butterfly Garden, by L. Hugh Newman. Long out of print, but readily available used.

For a more modern resource, try Butterfly Conservation's site: https://butterfly-conservation.org/how-you-can-help/get-invo...


Not in Egnlish unfortunately. But what I wrote is pretty much the generic way in which 'good' meadows etc are being preserved and developed and that's not going to be different from grassland management done by nature organizations your area, so your best bet is to contact them and ask recommendations.

And/or join for volunteering; thing is: removing all cuttings is key, and quite some work, so in places where it cannot be done with machines (most of them, meadows don't like to be ran over with heavy machines because it compacts the soil on dry terrain or ruins it on wet terrain) people will be very happy with some extra hands and in return you'll learn all these things firsthand. At least that's how it worked for me.


Cuttings can be repurposed as compost for the food-forest part of your garden, which exists alongside the wildflower-meadow part. (Grow flowering perennials, and this will help with supporting pollinators.)


It also needs tending if you are to prevent thistles, nettles and brambles etc dominating. We have a spot with native wild species, and it's a lovely little insect and bird oasis, but there's some constant control required. Far less than much gardening or tending a perfect lawn certainly, but not maintenance free.

We made a point of not having blackberries in the mix, but nature intervened and some bird must have planted one for us. If only they were easier to get shot of...


You may be overestimating how tended my garden is! Thanks.


I volunteer with what used to be the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers - here's the Scottish section https://www.tcv.org.uk/scotland/

I get to work with some very knowledgeable people, wade around chest-high in pond waders and use a chainsaw.


You can volunteer to plant trees in the Highlands:

https://treesforlife.org.uk/

Edit: I've planted quite a few bee friendly plants this year in my garden and have been very pleased at the results.


Thanks for this link!


It depends. Coastal area? moor? mountain?


Rural. Garden by lots of farmland.


A wildlife pond would be my first option (if there is not a suitable one yet next).


i am happy theres alteast some people concerned and working for our environment instead of passing stupid laws and doing fk all.

it's not hard to make your yard or environment more friendly for the local wildlife, and its super important to do so with current conditions.

for example in my country, even in 'protected' areas, insect populations are down by as much as 85%!. Thats just because people are a bit lazy and put pavement in their backyards instead of some simple grass and flowers.

take time for your environment, not for yourself, but for the next generation of people to be able to enjoy life.

don't expect government or politics to resolve such an issue, they are only out for money and forever hampered by budget issues and childish disagreements between politicians.


We have come to a realization that in order for one to be considered of importance, one must own and get paid a large amount of wealth and income. Question is, why can’t the value of giving be considered of same importance? Giving can be any services, time, materials or more importantly your experience and your honest to god effort to provide help.


Because of control.

Wealth and income are easier to control than what you describe. So the society is built around worshiping and paying certain figures so everyone else gets caught up in this loop in hopes of getting where these mediatic figures are.


Question is, why can’t the value of giving be considered of same importance?

Entire books have been written, entire philosophical careers made from just such a question. Me, I think it is a reflection on what we as individuals think important. And the votes are in: we vote money and power. Not a lot of comic books about the quiet Zen master tending to her students for thirty years.


If there was no catastrophic population collapse, how do more butterflies in the wild help to reintroduce the species?

I'd think they'd eat all of the last of those plants and that's it.

And if it was catastrophic collapse it should be able to bounce back from the few remaining or from surrounding populations, no?


What a splendid story. Good on him.


Clearly a waste of time if he wasn't getting paid for it. Imagine all the other wasted efforts of time and money that other people would do if we as a society paid them well enough to have excess time and money to do these sorts of pointless non-entrepreneurial adventures. What if he put all this effort in and makes the world a better place for nothing?

(Heavy satire / sarcasm)


Corollary: it's worth recognizing the number of hidden people who want to do this, but because of the way society has been set up to goad them into "paying work", can't.


Our entire society is built to trap you in to working on things you don't care about to make other people rich.

You go to college, get a pile of debt, and now you've lost the freedom to do what you like with your time because you have to optimise for income.

Or you don't go to college, don't have debt, but can't afford a reasonable home because the collegiates voted to make it illegal to build new ones, and DEFINITELY don't want any home that isn't gigantic and doesn't have parking. No modest townhouse for you!

You decide to follow your dream and get a part time job so with the rest of your time you do a net good for the world, and you get sick. You lacked insurance. You survive, but have learned your lesson and know not to step out of line, especially since you now have huge debts.

Every aspect of our lives has become an exercising in maximising profit. And yet most don't seem to feel very wealthy. We run ourselves ragged for the sake of others. Taking as path that means earning less money and more time is considered foolish at best, irresponsible at worst.

And we're doing all this to help rip the lungs and heart of our planet apart to help a few lucky psychopaths get a brief hit on the hedonic treadmill before they die, just in time to miss the gen z'ers in a dead world cursing their name.

I think it might be better to start with nothing than with the massive negative equity many young people wind up with when starting life.


For these reasons and more, an increasing number of people choose not to have kids. It feels unethical to bring them into this rat race.


At least some part of your work say to be "paying"... Otherwise you probably wouldn't have food, shelter or other luxury that you might want.


In my opinion, none of those things should be contingent on being paid. At least at a minimum level, it should be possible to eat nutritious food, have homely and comfortable shelter, fresh water, warmth, clothing, medical care, everything you need to survive and thrive, just because you're human and society is not barbaric.

Then when you work it would be because you want to expand beyond that minimum, or because it's a thing that you want to do, for personal reasons, to serve the community, etc.


Thing is it can be very cheap to "waste" your time and become harder and harder to get out of. I'm kind of trying that at the moment.

I totally agree that society should make sure peoples basic needs are met, but don't see a reason why this should not involve trading in some of your time. So yeah, why not having to offer 20h/week to the gov to get all that? This kinda sets a minimum wage while offering everyone a way to fulfill their basic needs. What job/task the gov has/can find for you is another problem, but doesn't seem unsolvable to me.


The reason not to do that is that (1) it risks creating a serf underclass, and (2) a big part of the point of this is to free up time for people to do things they want to do but are not yet profitable - like study, like art, and like starting a business that isn't able to pay a subsistence salary yet. Which is completely obviated by taking that time away.

It's also based in the paradigm of forcing people to do things rather than having faith in their willingness to contribute to the community.


> having faith in their willingness to contribute to the community

I feel like my parents subscribe to this view, that this willingness comes naturally for us. It did not. Might have been different a few generations ago, but its easier than ever to live with barely any contact to a community to contribute to. So your paradigm would likely have to "drag along" an increasing number of people.

> free up time

I didn't go with 40 for a reason :) This number has to be adjusted depending on societies ability, just like a minimum wage.

> it risks creating a serf underclass

Valid concern, but probably already reality, just harder to classify and right now less done by the gov. UBI/needs provided would kind of do the same, I think. I also don't see keeping some trade aspect making class mobility harder than what we currently have right now.


I think the primary reason people lose their willingness to contribute is living in a situation that is both "unending famine" (from their perspective, not GDP) and "rivalrous" as opposed to "cooperative". Such a situation engenders sharp elbows and hoarding. But it reverses itself soon enough when either the "famine" ends or when cooperation is rewarded rather than stepped upon.


> At least at a minimum level, it should be possible to eat nutritious food, have homely and comfortable shelter, fresh water, warmth, clothing, medical care, everything you need to survive and thrive, just because you're human and society is not barbaric.

Where does this minimum level of comfort come from? Somebody has to do that minimal work, and on average everyone should do their share of "paid" work. (By paid I don't strictly mean exchange of currency, but producing value that everyone sees as valuable, i.e. food)


It comes from the legacy of automation and technological advancement created by our ancestors and should be to everyones benefit.

Currently this flow of massive wealth is going into the pockets of people who need it the least and no one is asking where it is coming from.


Right now, society's in a situation where an artificial number of "jobs" are created either by makework companies or by resisting automation of scutwork. If people are freed from the necessity to work useless jobs just to receive subsistence, it will suddenly become both economic and politic to reverse that.


> In my opinion, none of those things should be contingent on being paid. At least at a minimum level, it should be possible to eat nutritious food, have homely and comfortable shelter, fresh water, warmth, clothing, medical care, everything you need to survive and thrive, just because you're human and society is not barbaric.

Where does the food come from? Where does the shelter come from? Where does the heat and the clothes and the medical care come from? They come from other people's labor. Why would other people agree to labor in order to provide these things to you while you provide nothing in return?


Sadly, most people would just watch Netflix.


We are not used to be free. Economic restraints force us to do things we don't want to do instead of watching Netflix. So most don't understand what "just watching Netflix" means. If you set out to "just watch Netflix" as your main activity, you would very very quickly get fed up and depressed, and thus stop watching Netflix.

Those fortunate ones with enough wealth to have the option to just watch Netflix for a year and don't do much else, don't do that and are happy with it. And neither would the less fortunate once after an initial learning phase. Humans must learn to be free, but they can. We want to take part, show our contribution, feel proud. As soon as we have found a pleasant way to contribute, we do.

Yes, conditionless basic income would change work ethics. People who fill up supermarkets displays or serve food to unfriendly customers at unhealthy hours would maybe just stop going to work. I would be happy for them, and I hope it would happen today.

There is a lot of work that is needlessly tiring, badly paid, and in which you are badly treated, but people just stay in the status quo because they see no way out. Once there is a way out, the jobs will have to change, and that rapidly. That would be progress for society I still hope to see in my lifetime.


We have been free. We were free for millennia.

But... if you look at the most free animals in nature: cats, after domesticating humans and getting guaranteed safety, shelter and food. They have independently decided to sleep and murder their lives away. Their contributions to the art world via social media (a task they’ve mostly trained their humans to do) is probably the nost significant and vacuous the world has every seen. Their obsession with small mammal terminating is probably better for the biosphere.


I have taken over a year off of work multiple times in my life and while I didn't do much that was productive with my time off, I was definitely unhappy with time wasting and lounging around all day. My motivation to eventually start working again would have assuredly been directed elsewhere if not for the pending need for income again eventually


That is a pretty pesimistic presumption that AFAIK has no empirical evidence to back it up. Even without holding the threats of homelessness and starvation over people's heads, humans are highly status driven, competitive creatures. There is a lot of evidence that people will do massive amounts of work that has little to no material benefit, just for a bit of social status (or even for self satisfaction.) Otherwise, volunteerism, open source software and Indy Games couldn't be as successful as they are.

I don't doubt there are some people who would stay home and watch Netflix. I just suspect there are more people that are ground down by the daily grind and abandon their dreams.

Even if there are more unmotivated people than demotivated people, unmotivated people are low value anyway. People that lack self-motivation are never gonna be the most productive members of society so designing a system to extract work from them at the cost of wasting the time of more motivated individuals seems... backwards.


What is the problem with that?

Besides for most people to be able to watch Netflix, some people will need to make Netflix. If there aren't enough people to make Netflix, something else will be made but at the end of the day there is no way nobody will do anything - if nothing else, people will be bored and actively want to do something.


There's nothing better than boredom for inspiration and motivation.


You seem to be under the assumption that the masses will find inspiration and motivation to do things you don't find disagreeable.

I'm emphatically for people having the resources to pursue whatever the heck the want (even if that's sitting around drinking beer) but I think that most of the UBI crowd is out of touch with how the people who will most benefit from UBI will use their newfound freedom. Covering poor people's housing and food expenses isn't going to magically make them want to spend their time acting upper middle class. You give people freedom and they will act how they want, not necessarily how you want. I'd still call that a win but many will not.


> Covering poor people's housing and food expenses isn't going to magically make them want to spend their time acting upper middle class.

You seem to be under the assumption that the majority of "poor people" behave the way they are portrayed in "reality" TV shows or whatever you're consuming that makes you think this way.

In fact most are no different from the "upper middle class", except for the amount of money they can freely spend. Do you honestly believe they're somehow wired differently just because they're poor?

Watch less TV, interact more with actual people.


>You seem to be under the assumption that the majority of "poor people" behave the way they are portrayed in "reality" TV shows or whatever you're consuming that makes you think this way.

You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about my life experience and who I don't associate with.

>In fact most are no different from the "upper middle class", except for the amount of money they can freely spend. Do you honestly believe they're somehow wired differently just because they're poor?

Yes, people are very much the same on some level but it's pure lunacy to pretend that one's life experience does not have any effect on shaping a person's standards and preferences. If you give a poor person a good paycheck they will probably pick a few areas to indulge but they will not magically upscale their entire lives. Their standards and tastes will take quite some time (if ever) to adapt to the lack of economic scarcity. (Obviously I'm speaking in generalizations here and my statements are subject individual variance.)

You can leave the trailer park but the trailer park will never leave you.

>Watch less TV, interact more with actual people.

Since we're sinking to this level you should get out of your gated community and internet echo chambers.


FWIW i'd also call that a win... but perhaps i do not see what could possibly go wrong :-P


I have no problem with it, I just don't consider it a good argument for basic income.


When I take a few days of holiday I literally don't do anything but waste time. When I have longer breaks between work I start doing productive things after a period of decompressing. My normal job just sucks up all my productivity in a way that it becomes hard to even take out the trash.


That would be _so_ much better for the environment


Does it matter? Even if only 1% of people used the time to do something constructive/beneficial to society and the environment that would still amount to over 70 million people worldwide. That could definitely move the needle away from the capitalist dystopia we have created.


We are not living in a capitalist dystopia. If you have an interesting thing you want to do but can't afford to do, head over to Kickstarter or Patreon and collect funding.

Thank capitalism later.


That is already dystopian not to mention people also use this to cover their medical bills. The gold fish doesn't know it's in a fish bowl.


How on earth is that dystopian?


To reply properly would warrant an essay about n order effects but long story short the fact that crowd funding exists in it's current state is a reflection of how broken our economic model is.


What makes you think that money would be well spend? I think most people would still sit on their asses watching netflix... now with a fancy job title and paycheck.

This butterfly is amazing and with good story, crowdfunding should be doable. Also Bay area already spends several billions on environmental protections, why this budget did not cover this project?


Crowfunding here is a problem, because the animal is rare, beautiful and desired by collectors, and anybody less well-intentioned than this man could collect the funds and then breed the butterflies with the only purpose of sell it preserved on internet later.

Even if 50% of rare butterflies killed and sold would be better for the species than having no butterflies at all, it poses some legal conflicts and dangers for the wild population, would be trading of a rare species. With big butterflies cames a big responsability


Update: it seems that fortunately is just locally rare in the city, so I'm wrong and the former does not apply.




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