If you didn’t already just love Monsanto for all the wonderful ways they’ve helped purify our food system (cough cough), this just in: they’re probably helping to kill off the beautiful Monarch butterfly in significant numbers, too.
According to the Center for Food Safety, the 2013 to 2014 “overwintering” Monarch populations in Mexico are on a major decline – a 44 percent decline in the last year.
“An average estimate of about 50 million butterflies per hectare would mean there are roughly 33.5 million monarchs – a huge drop from just one year ago,” the Center’s report states.
According to The Guardian, these numbers show the lowest levels since studies of Monarch numbers began in 1993.
While there are several factors that can impact Monarch populations, the Center for Food Safety reports that the “loss of milkweed plants at the expense of recent changes in industrial agriculture now poses the greatest threat to monarchs” as “the use of the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling product, Roundup) on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans has absolutely decimated milkweed plants in North America.”
Milkweed used to grow in great quantities in North America, but with all the GMO corn and soybeans able to survive the constant sprayings of glyphosate, “milkweed has little chance of survival in these vital monarch breeding grounds.”
So, in the name of crops that are likely to be terrible for us humans, we’re killing off one of the most beautiful creatures on earth — WTF!
It’s either Monsanto or the Monarchs, Green Monsters. What can we do if we want our Monarchs to survive?
Omar Vidal, the director general of WWF Mexico, states, “Mexico must ‘energetically demand’ that the United States reform its agricultural policy with an eye toward preserving milkweed.”
The Center for Food Safety agrees: “More milkweed equals more monarch habitat; and gaining more milkweed will require less of Monsanto’s Roundup sprayed on our fields. These critical plants are the sole breeding grounds for Monarch butterflies and the only source of food for their larvae. We enthusiastically agree with Vidal – it is prime time for the U.S. to take action and protect Monarch butterflies. We can’t sit back and watch their population numbers consistently drop to new all-time lows.”
While governmental protection policies need to be set in place for long-term change, we can do our part to help right at home in the mean time by signing this petition to stop the approval of crops contributing to Monarch population decline. Be sure to also share this petition and article with others to raise awareness about this important issue.
Image source: Kenneth Dwain Harrelson / Wikimedia