As if it weren’t tragic enough that Monsanto’s herbicides (including Roundup) are contributing heavily to the destruction of our honey bees and other pollinating insects, now Dow’s latest combination weed-killer, approved by the EPA, will continue the destruction of milkweed, the only source of food for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. The EPA does not seem to care that much about the environment, as they readily approve these products.
Monarch butterflies have been in extreme danger for decades. Their 3,000-mile migration from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico each year and then back is an amazing feat but one that has seen their numbers dwindle by the millions. In the 1990s, their numbers in the forests near Mexico City were estimated at one billion. A freak winter storm killed about 500 million Monarch butterflies in 2002. Their average numbers in the decades that followed averaged 350 million. In 2013 only 33.5 million made the trip. From covering 50+ acres, they now blanket only about 1.6 acres of that Mexican mountain forest during the winter. Who knows how unbearably sad the next numbers will be? Note that similar significant declines have been recorded for the Monarchs who overwinter in the groves along the California coast.
As the Natural Resources Defense Council has said, “If we don’t fight back for monarchs now, their timeless migration – one of the most awe-inspiring natural phenomena on earth – could disappear forever.”
This does not need to happen! The United States has the potential for world leadership in all areas but sometimes, our government agencies’ decisions are staggeringly wrong. When corporations are allowed to continue to destroy our environment, it will soon be too late to turn back. Not just for honey bees and Monarch butterflies but for humanity as well. When we destroy the beauty that was created for us, we lose a huge part of what makes us human. We become monsters instead. Even before we morph into that ugly aspect of existence, everything that happens in the world will and does affect each one of us, usually sooner than later.
Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide contains glyphosate that destroys milkweed and also a chemical called 2,4-D, suspected of posing grave risks to human health as well. (It was developed about 70 years ago.) However, it is considered safe for use by many countries in the world, including the USA. What we don’t know is just how neutral those making the decisions are.
Please go to the NRDC’s website to read more. And go to www.LetMonarchsFly.org to make a donation to stop Dow before millions of gallons of this toxic brew can be applied to even more areas of and near farmland in the name of profits and genetically modified crops. The latter require more research and regulation, such as mandatory labeling, even though we need to feed millions more people every year. [Check out this article for an explanation of genetically modified foods or here for some of the controversies.]
To my religious friends of many faiths — too many people seem to think that since the earth will be renewed during the Millennium, we don’t have to lift a finger now to protect it. This could not be further from the truth! We are stewards of this earth and have a sacred obligation to care for it and its creatures. For Monarch butterflies, it is the use of ever more glyphosate that will destroy their numbers, outside of ongoing climate change. We cannot allow that to happen.
- A Guide to Common Milkweeds of California
- Can Milkweed be Bad for Monarchs?
- Growing Milkweed for the Monarch Butterfly
- How to Plant Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies
- Native Milkweeds