It is becoming more difficult to find the black, orange and white-patterned wings of the monarch butterfly. The population has been dropping rapidly. Between 1990 and 2016, the numbers have dropped 80 percent! Researchers estimate the monarch could completely disappear by 2036. Bees and butterflies pollinate key food crops. They pick up pollen from native wildflowers and carry it to other plants. Scientists have tied bee deaths to a class of agricultural insecticides called neonicotinoids but the monarch’s decline is linked directly to glyphosate. Glyphosate sprayed directly or carried by the breeze kills native plants. Monarch butterflies rely on the milkweed plant to lay their eggs and nourish the caterpillars that hatch.
In Iowa, for example, nearly 99 percent of the milkweed in cropland was lost from 1999 to 2012. Throughout the midwest, the percentage is 64 percent. This translates to 165 million acres lost to monarchs (about the size of Texas)! Glyphosate used in conjunction with Roundup Ready crops has nearly eliminated milkweed from cropland throughout the monarch’s Midwest breeding range. The ramifications of losing an entire species of insects who pollinate plants will have an enormous environmental impact. How we treat nature has consequences that will surely affect the lives of our children. See my book for more information on problems with Roundup and GMOs.
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