Who doesn’t enjoy seeing butterflies fluttering around on a sunny summer’s day? The life cycle of the butterfly is one of the wonders of nature. It’s understood from our earliest school days not only as a fascinating fact, but also a symbol of the possibilities of new life and beauty through transformation. Whilst the radiant colours and patterns of butterfly wings may be explained though natural selection and survival needs, their beauty may be enjoyed as a sheer gift in creation.
This photograph depicts a Marbled White; which is widespread and expanding in central and southern England, South Wales and east Yorkshire. But the general outlook in Britain for biodiversity is not so good. Climate change and habitat loss is having a significant impact. A recent major study has found that many of the species that perform the important role of pollinating plants and trees such as bees, moths and hoverflies are in decline; as are those such as ants which act as important pest controllers. Increases in some species like the Marbled White butterfly are not compensating for the loss of the others.
“We do not need to be heroes to save the world; all we need is humility, a critical view of the commercial and political interests of those who would mislead us into wrong-doing, and a sense of wonder.” John Burnside (New Statesman, 22 April 2013)