The Flight of the Butterflies

Every spring, for about two weeks, monarch butterflies take over the air with their annual migration. They’re so thick you can’t walk down the street without having them thunk softly into you. As far as springtime events go, a massive horde of butterflies is far better than the bee swarms that appear looking for shade and water, or the occasional locust clouds that set upon Las Vegas. 

The butterflies make a beautiful, if somewhat chaotic procession. Their large, delicate wings work so hard to keep them aloft, and for so little forward progress per flap. They move as quickly as they can, but it’s not fast enough to navigate the perils of modern human-centric development. 

Each year, thousands of butterflies are killed by cars, trains, and other human inventions. The butterflies create a grotesque layer of broken wings and goo on car hoods, and we all sigh and shrug our shoulders about the loss. 

This blog post is what happened when I asked myself, what if we did things differently? What if we didn’t commit to a yearly butterfly massacre? What would the rest of our society have to look like in order for us to value butterfly lives as much as our own? 

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on


From: The Department of Pollinator Preservation

Date: 5/19/2052

It’s that time of year again! We are weeks away from welcoming thousands of monarch butterflies as they flutter through the desert in their spring migration. 


  • Butterflies have the right of way! On migration days, there should be no daytime vehicular traffic between 7am to 7pm. In order to preserve butterfly lives, roads will be limited to emergency travel only. Residents may travel by foot, bicycle, skateboard, or other similarly sized, low-speed mobility device. 
  • Contact your local Community Support Network to coordinate deliveries of food, water, medicine, and check-ins for yourself and your neighbors.

Activities throughout the month:

Residents are connecting at weekly neighborhood potlucks to plan ahead for no-car days. 

  • Potlucks are every Thursday from 6pm-8pm at several locations throughout the community. 

Photo and Video Contest: Show us your best pics of the monarch migration, your milkweed garden, or any other butterfly moments you can capture on film! Winners will be announced at the Butterfly Days Festival.

At the Library: At your local library branch, you can find butterfly themed activities for all ages. Learn about how butterflies fly, how scientists track their movements, and how caterpillars turn into butterflies during free, weekly presentations.

At Your Community Garden: Gardeners throughout the area have been tending their milkweed and native flowers. Sign up for your own plot, or learn about volunteering in one of the community plots.

Butterfly Days Festival

Saturday, 8:00am

Memorial For Lost Monarchs

We open the festival with a memorial service to those butterflies whose lives were cut short by previous generations of humans who did not honor their passage. 

Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm

Monarch Festival

There will be free milkweed plants and local flowers for residents to take home, and local botanists will be available to answer any questions. Enjoy flower and butterfly-themed snacks, listen to local music, and see what’s new in our community gardens.

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