When you think of a butterfly, what image comes to mind? For me, it is the classic monarch butterfly. This orange and black beauty is an amazing creature migrating thousands of miles! I remember learning about them in elementary school and being amazed that this little fragile creature could make such a journey.
Monarch butterflies are in trouble. Places where they amass in Mexico, as well as in Monterey, California have noticed a steep reduction in population. It’s been a mystery as to the cause with climate change being the most likely suspect. Now there is a new suspect.
The Cornucopia Institute reports:
But the monarch is in trouble, says Brower, the renowned monarch researcher from Sweet Briar College. He made national news last year when his yearly monarch count in the overwintering grounds in Mexico showed a 90 percent decline in monarchs over 20 years.
At their peak, migrating monarchs covered 45 acres of Mexico wintering grounds in 1996 but only 1.7 acres last year. Anecdotal reports indicate a possible weather-related rebound this year, but the trend has been downward for two decades.
It’s why on Monday Brower joined three nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to rule the monarch butterfly threatened and give it Endangered Species Act protection.
His studies have included visits to Iowa, a state that historically has been a prime territory for their birth, but now is at the center of his criticism.
He blames the decline in migration numbers on the widespread use of Roundup herbicide, used to kill milkweed but not the genetically-engineered row crops resistant to it. Milkweed is the monarch caterpillar’s only food.
Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup is causing major problems for our health and our environment. Savvy marketing has convinced Americans it is perfectly safe to use around their homes, and “Roundup ready” GMO crops have caused an increase in its use in agriculture. Now we have superweeds that have evolved in response to Roundup overuse, as well as health problems like birth defects.
There’s Roundup in your breastmilk!
Why are Monarch Butterflies Dying?
It is most likely a combination of Roundup, loss of habitat, and climate change.
Please think twice before using Roundup, and please support organic farmers. This product does not belong in your garage or on your food.
The unusual behavior of the monarch population and its decline is the central theme in Barbara Kingsolvers fictitious book [amazon_link id=”0062124277″ target=”_blank” ]Flight Behavior: A Novel[/amazon_link]. This book mixes science with Barbara’s excellent character development.
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