Ernest Williams, the William R. Kenan Professor of Biology, was featured in a New York Times editorial, “Monarchs Fight for Their Lives,” published on Sunday, Oct. 13. Written by editorial board member Verlyn Klinkenborg, the essay addressed the threats to the long-term survival of the butterfly. Klinkenborg referred to Williams’ summarization of several recent reports outlining the threats to survival that monarchs currently face.
Klinkenborg, who recently visited the college, concluded his piece with these provocative lines, “What looks like agricultural success, purging bean and corn fields of milkweed (among other weeds), turns out to be butterfly disaster. This is the great puzzle of species conservation -- it has to be effective at nearly every stage of a species' life cycle. And this, too, is the dilemma of human behavior. We live in a world of unintended consequences of our own making, which can never be easily undone.”