On the heels of recent bee declines, another iconic pollinator, the monarch butterfly, is in serious trouble. Last month, the New York Times reported that the number of monarchs arriving at their ancient overwintering grounds in Mexico has reached the lowest level on record.i

The monarch butterfly’s sharp decline has been linked to massive increases in the planting of GMO crops engineered to tolerate huge doses of Monsanto’s Roundup™ herbicide. These herbicide-tolerant “Roundup Ready” crops have encouraged farmers to use ever-increasing amounts of this weed killer -- virtually wiping out milkweed, the only food young monarchs eat.ii

We need your help to protect this iconic butterfly. Tell the USDA and EPA to stop approving the pesticide-resistant GMO crops and the toxic chemical pesticides that accompany them.

Over the last decade, the amount of U.S. crops genetically engineered to withstand massive applications of Monsanto’s patented Roundup™ herbicide grew to comprise 83 percent of all corn and 93 percent of soybeans.iii As a result, the use of Roundup skyrocketed and has virtually wiped out the milkweed that once grew among our farm fields.

Act now! Tell the USDA and EPA to protect monarch butterflies and stop approving pesticide-resistant GMO crops.

Monarchs, like bees, are a “canary in the coal mine.” This iconic species is only the tip of the iceberg -- a wide variety of pollinators and other insects, including many that benefit farmers, are also rapidly disappearing, along with the birds, mammals and other predators that feed on them.

Monarchs are the latest and most visible victims of the chemical-intensive, corporate-controlled, GMO-dominated industrial agriculture system that is harming not only these majestic pollinators, but also the health of people and the environment around the world.

Tell the EPA and USDA to stop approving pesticide-resistant genetically engineered crops and to instead promote non-toxic pest and weed management to the benefit of farmers, our health, our ecosystems and the precious monarch butterfly.

For the monarchs,
Lisa Archer and Dana Perls,
Food and Technology program,
Friends of the Earth

i. Wines, Michael. “Migration of Monarch Butterflies Shrinks Again Under Inhospitable Conditions,” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/us/monarch-butterflies-falter-under-extreme-weather.html

ii. Pleasants, J. M. and Oberhauser, K. S. (2013), Milkweed loss in agricultural fields because of herbicide use: effect on the monarch butterfly population. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 6: 135–144. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4598.2012.00196.x

iii. "Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.," United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption

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Comments

Tonycohenster 5 years 32 weeks ago
#1

You're sadly correct about the Monarchs, but nothing will be done because of ignorance or disinterest.

With the honey bee, we'll probably have to wait, like tar sands pipelines, global climate, record breaking poverty, etc...till the sh.. hits the fan...

The nation campaign of Mediocrity Maintenance for the Masses seems to be doing quite well.

telliottmbamsc's picture
telliottmbamsc 5 years 30 weeks ago
#2

Monarch butterflies are in crisis, and we must take immediate action to protect them!

Less than 20 years ago, an astounding 1 billion monarchs migrated to Mexico for the winter. This year, a mere fraction of that -- just 33.5 million -- made the journey.

Why? In large part it's because industrial agriculture is killing off the native milkweed on which monarchs depend with a new generation of potent herbicides.

Tell the EPA to adopt tough new restrictions on the weed killers that are wiping out monarchs!

By placing commonsense limits on Big Ag's rampant use of herbicides like glyphosate -- marketed as Roundup by Monsanto -- the EPA could dramatically increase the monarch's chance for survival.

But the EPA is unlikely to do that unless it hears from hundreds of thousands of us!

Monarchs can't live without milkweed -- it is the only plant on which they lay their eggs.

What's at stake here? One of the most astounding and extraordinary migrations on the planet -- a true natural wonder.

Each year, as they have for countless generations, North American monarchs undertake an epic journey, flittering upwards of 3,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada to just a relative few wintering grounds, including Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains.

But as industrial agriculture has ramped up its use of genetically engineered crops resistant to weed killers like glyphosate, it has also dramatically escalated its use of herbicides -- and monarch populations have plunged.

This is the ninth year in a row that the population of monarchs wintering in Mexico has fallen below its long-term average, and this year it hit an all-time low.

Please tell EPA the time to act is now!

Thank you for joining NRDC at this critical moment in our fight to save the monarchs.

Sincerely,

Frances Beinecke
President
Natural Resources Defense Council

The mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

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