This article was originally published by Greenpeace.
The monarch butterfly is known around the world for the challenging and impressive migration that it makes every year from North America to Mexico, but in recent years less and less butterflies have been returning. That’s because the monarch butterfly is in grave danger.
The cause of the decline is multi-faceted—from agro-industrial chemicals to illegal logging to changes in the weather. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help rebuild the fragile population of the monarch butterfly.
Here are 8 ways you can help save the monarch butterfly:
1. Don’t Use Pesticides in Your Own Garden
Many pesticides contain glyphosate, an herbicide that kills milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant monarch larvae eat, and the only plant the monarch will lay its eggs in. Without milkweed, the monarch butterfly would cease to exist.
2. Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods
Because these “Roundup Ready” GE seeds are resistant to glyphosate, farmers spray more and more of it to get rid of weeds. The excess glyphosate increases the amount of milkweed killed.
3. Plant Native Milkweed
It is important to plant milkweed native to your area to promote biodiversity and enable the natural migration pattern of the monarch butterflies.
4. Create a Monarch Way-Station
These are habitats that allow monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. You can order the seeds to build your waystation here.
5. Join the Fight to Stop Climate Change
The Monarch butterfly migration is spurred by seasonal temperature changes, but changes in the weather cycle would confuse the butterfly and disrupt the entire flight cycle. With colder winters and drier summers not only is the migration at risk, but the life of the butterfly could be threatened by changes in habitat and milkweed availability.
6. Use FSC Certified Wood
Many monarch butterflies rely on the forests in Mexico as a winter habitat, but illegal logging reduces the acres of trees that are left to the butterflies. Buy FSC certified wood to ensure monarchs have a place to return.
7. Learn More
8. Spread the Word
Educate others about the monarch butterfly decline and encourage them to take the steps to protect this delicate species.
Lead image source: docentjoyce/Flickr