Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Butterfly Barricade Aims to Save Our Pollinators {Edible Monterey Bay}

Here's a blogpost I wrote for Edible Monterey Bay: click to read it there. It went live today, April 22, 2014. ~CMM

April 22, 2014 – Photographer and activist Michelle Magdalena has neonicotinoid insecticides in her crosshairs.

“One of the most magical, beautiful, and ethereal experience of my childhood was when I was six-years-old and living in San Diego. Butterflies were migrating up our road in a swarm. And I was completely engulfed in butterflies,” she recalls. “Butterflies can be a gateway for people to care about the environment.”

Her latest project, Save Our Pollinators, is a natural marriage of her intense opposition to pesticides and GMOs, and the desire to mobilize public opinion in her local community towards influencing legislation. Specifically, the Pacific Grove-based artist is asking: How do we help, sustain, and protect monarchs, bees, and other pollinators?

“When I heard that Monarch butterfly migration was coming to an end. I was devastated. We can make a difference,” Magdalena believes.

A few weeks ago she started an indiegogo campaign to distribute Pollinator Action Kits, created in collaboration with poet and designer Meredith Stricker. They contain native seeds that create habitats for pollinators on California’s central coast; a list of ten easy steps you can do; and a postcard addressed to the Congress sub-committee seeking to pass HR 2692 “Protect America’s Pollinators Act!”

“These kits give people an opportunity to act. Not everyone knows how to act,” Magdalena observes.

Right now she’s focused on the Central Coast and getting seeds of native plants into as many hands as she can.  “It’s important that people take the seeds, plant them, and advance the habitats.”

She has organized a day full of fun and facts, education and inspiration at the Museum of Monterey’s Stanton Center this coming Saturday, April 26th, from 1-4pm. The documentary Monarch Movement, filmed in the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary by Robert Pacelli, will be screened; Meredith Stricker, author of Alphabet Theater and Tenderness Shore will read from her work; and there will be live music by jazz singer Julie Capili and pianist Kumi Uyeda of UC Santa Cruz.

You can find her today, April 22nd, at MPC’s Earthday Rally and MIIS’s Earthday Discussions. She’ll be at the Museum of Monterey (MOM) this weekend, Saturday, April 26th, and at MEarth next weekend, Saturday, May 3rd. Check out her facebook page  for ways you can save the pollinators. Or view her a video of her project here...

Magdalena’s past projects have included seeking to answer questions such as: How does food packaging impact the ocean? What does driving do to a person’s carbon footprint?

In 2011, she traveled to Ishinomaki, a coastal town of 80 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and asked residents, “How do you feel about nuclear energy?” She documented their answers, written on whiteboards in a language she didn’t understand, with dramatic greyscale portraits; it’s the same haunting style as her intimate documentation of her father’s battle with cancer in 2006.

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