Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Small Critters Matter

Back when the Milwaukee County Board was debating whether to sell a portion of the publicly-owned County Grounds in western Wauwatosa near the Zoo interchange to UWM for a college and business center, a group of conservationists objected because the property contained important Monarch butterfly migration habitat.

The sale was eventually approved, and with a conservation plan to protect the sensitive site - - yeah, I know, good luck with that - - but I remember that when I gave the conservationists encouragement on this blog some ''butterflies, so what?' comments came this way.

That stuck with me - - the contempt for part of an indivisible ecosystem that includes us people up top or wherever it is we are - - and the smaller creatures, too.

I was reminded of this again when I saw news footage of tiny Gulf of Mexico creatures - - part of the food chain that sustains the shrimp and other seafood - - struggling and dying in the oil.

No food supply - - no shrimp, or birds, tourism, commercial fishing, real estate values, Louisiana lifestyle - - and so on.

And I heard a discussion on the radio Friday about the continuing shortage of bees - - so critical to farming and our entire food supply.

Bees, butterflies, shrimp.

You can't keep taking these small living things for granted without putting everything and everyone - - the world we and they live in - - at risk.

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