Homero Aridjis on the Genesis of the Monarch Letter

March 31, 2014By
Homero Aridjis

Homero Aridjis

When news of the drastic drop in monarch numbers overwintering in Mexico this season broke on January 29th, I was quoted by Associated Press as saying “I think President Obama should take some step to support the survival of the Monarch butterflies. The governments of the United States and Canada have washed their hands of the problem, and left it all to Mexico.” On February 2, Betty Ferber and I wrote to Lincoln Brower and Gary Nabhan suggesting that we draft a letter to Obama, Peña Nieto and Harper about the current state of affairs, asking them to put the Monarch on the agenda during their February 19 summit meeting in Toluca, Mexico.  This letter from the Grupo de los Cien and Make Way for Monarchs would describe the decline of the monarch butterfly migration in eastern North America and present a plan explaining what should and could be done. Monarch scientists, writers and scientists from other fields would be asked to sign.

On February 4th Nathan Gardels wrote to me requesting an article for The Worldpost/Huffington Post about how the US and Canada — the other NAFTA partners– need to become more involved in protecting the Monarch butterfly migration, as he had seen my quote. My article “Last Call for Monarchs” was published on February 7th. While Lincoln and Ernest Williams worked on the letter, Betty and I gathered signatures from the US, Mexico, Canada and elsewhere. Once we received the final draft I added the closing paragraph.  On February 14, I personally delivered the letter signed by 18 international Monarch scientists and 161 writers, artists and other scientists to the US and Canadian ambassadors in Mexico and to Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment.

That same day we released the letter to the Mexican and foreign media, where it received widespread coverage (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, AP, CNN, BBC, Mexican TV and radio, Al-Jazeera, etc.) prior to the Toluca meeting.

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