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.
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