climate change in the butterfly house

Over Midsummer weekend, I took NK to the Butterfly House, a tropical oasis on the grounds of a Swedish castle, filled with butterflies, fish, lizards, birds, and glowing black and green frogs. It is also a 20-minute walk from our apartment and one of the only places in Sweden open every day, holiday weekends included.

NK loves it, while I tremble a bit, because she always ends up overheated and hungry, running without end, and I always end up carrying a screaming child out into the cold.

Well, turns out they had a power outage at the butterfly house, and even in the cold Swedish summer, that meant that the sun baked through the greenhouse roof.

Plants got scorched, and butterflies died. Lots of them.

NK still loved it, though she got a little bored, which may have been due to the lack of butterflies. On the other hand, a fish tried to eat her finger, and, well, that is hard to beat.

Meanwhile, I stretched a metaphor as I chased her around. I care about climate change deeply. I really do. But, way back there, there is the thought – my children and grandchildren will likely live in Sweden or the United States. These are rich places that will adjust and cope. The world will let the Maldives slide under the sea. It will not let New York City slide under the sea.

But the margins will be thinner, won’t they? Kind of like living in a butterfly house. Everything has been adjusted to allow these delicate butterflies to thrive suspiciously close to the Arctic Circle. But they need the electricity to make it work.

With climate change, even the richest of people will need metaphorical electricity to make their lives work.

And the electricity can go out.


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