On Butterfly Derangement Syndrome™

Butterfly - R. Weihrauch, Picture-Alliance.jpg

The European variant of Butterfly Derangement Syndrome™ appears to have passed another critical threshold this summer.

Deutsche Welle (DW) yesterday reported that butterflies are "flourishing" in Europe. "With a cold winter behind us and a hot, dry summer that is still playing out in Europe now, there are more butterflies, which are able to fly around longer and feed on lots of nectar."


Exactly one year ago, the same publication asked, "Where have all the butterflies gone?" Answer: "Everyone likes butterflies. They're beautiful and they don't sting or bite us. But these colorful insects have seen a dramatic decline in the past few decades. And the reason why is even more alarming."

Here are the even-more-alarming causes of catastrophic butterfly decline cited by DW  last summer:

Plant diversity is dwindling, particularly in regions where intensive monoculture agriculture dominates, which leaves little choice for our beloved butterflies.

Crop protection products like herbicides and pesticides destroy biodiversity. Wild herbs, plants or flowers can't survive in areas with monoculture farming.

So there you have it. This year's robust seasonal temperature variations have allowed butterflies to proliferate copiously and in their fullest splendor. But a year ago industrial farming techniques had brought them to the brink of extinction—mass casualties at "the frontlines of humans' war with nature," as DW put it so memorably. Conclusion: it's not easy being green. But it's even harder keeping these competing eco-alarmist narratives churning concurrently. First the pikas, then the penguins and the polar bears, now the butterflies—who'd have thought it would be such a challenge coming up with a durable poster species for the climate apocalypse?

But not to worry. In keeping with Butterfly Derangement Syndrome™—a form of mass-psychosis characterized by the anxiety of knowing that what we see plainly before us cannot be true—the gossamer-winged beauties of Europe may yet face imminent doom, according to DW:

Sadly, due to the extreme heat, there could be problems down the line for the tiny beauties.... While many plants butterflies usually lay their eggs in have died from the heat, fewer plants means fewer eggs, fewer caterpillars—and eventually, fewer butterflies. So next summer, you might not see that many butterflies around anymore.

It's always something. If it's not monoculture farming and pesticides, it's extreme heat. Either way, according to DW, the butterflies that are thick on the ground and "flourishing" in balmy Europe this summer are looking down the barrel of a grim future, starting as early as this autumn.

Best to get out and enjoy them while you can.