Monarch butterflies are in trouble. These popular insects, which have captured the public imagination with their several-thousand mile migrations, have been steadily disappearing for the past 20 years. Now, Monsanto says it wants to help turn the tide.
Can the seed and pesticide giant seen by many as responsible for the monarchs’ decline make a difference for these pollinators? Or will its next batch of genetically engineered (GE) crops make matters worse?
The David Suzuki Foundation is calling on governments and rail, road and hydro agencies across Canada to join the growing ranks of milkweed lovers who are rallying to support monarch butterfly conservation.
Over the past month, U.S. federal and state agencies have made encouraging announcements, including a commitment of US$3.2 million for programs to grow milkweed — the plant monarchs depend on — in schoolyards and gardens and on highway roadsides from Mexico to Minnesota.
Last year NRDC filed a petition with EPA asking them to review the use of glyphosate (also known as Roundup) in light of its effects on monarch butterflies and to impose restrictions on its use. After more than a year, EPA has yet to respond to our petition so today we are filing a lawsuit to compel them to act with expediency.
Anyone who has been following the plight of the monarch butterflies knows that they are in trouble.
Monarchs have been in the news a lot lately, most of it grim. Numbers have dropped dramatically over recent years from various causes, including climate change, illegal logging at the insects’ overwintering sites in Mexico and new practices in the agricultural industry.
A major factor is the widespread use of GMO crops that are Round-Up resistant, allowing U.S. farmers in the monarch’s summer breeding grounds in the Corn Belt to spray the herbicide on their fields to kill weeds.
We are writing to further engage you in taking more immediate and larger scale actions to help farmers recover milkweeds and other native plants for threatened monarchs. These same plantings will also help recover populations of native bees and honeybees required by farmers.
While we are grateful to specific individuals on your team who have already affirmed their commitments to positive change, we remain concerned by the mixed messages coming from your organization as a whole.
My mantra has always been “the impact of the individual, the impact of the individual…” I have had great teachers in my life that made sure I realized that we indeed make a difference – but it’s up to us to choose if it’s a positive or negative one.
This all started with Gary Nabhan and his wonderful, heartwarming idea for Make Way for Monarchs to sponsor a “Day of Action and Contemplation”…
You could make a good case that the Monarch butterfly is America’s favorite insect. Unfortunately, it’s in a death spiral, of our making, as we may have lost 90 percent of the Monarch. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unveiled a massive effort to save the Monarch migration, which will soon carry the butterflies over Oklahoma, on their way from Mexico to the upper Midwest.
We used to be able to blame the Monarch’s decline on Mexican farmers, who cut down the trees in the butterfly’s over-wintering grounds.
The MJV brings together numerous conservation, research, and educational programs along with their respective resources in a coordinated effort to conserve monarch butterflies and their amazing migration.
Recently, the Monarch Joint Venture welcomed the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a partner to strengthen monarch and pollinator conservation throughout their networks and programs.