Target: Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Stop poisoning monarch butterflies and their larvae with herbicides and insecticides.
Monarch butterflies are facing a double-edged sword – herbicides and insecticides. The Midwest – the primary transit route for the annual monarch butterfly migration – is full of farmers that are increasingly utilizing genetically-modified (GMO) crops to tolerate herbicides that contain the deadly chemical known as glyphosate. These herbicides do not just affect the crops they are used on but also kill milkweed plants, a plant where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. The widespread use of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans has resulted in a loss of nearly 80 million acres of monarch habitat in recent years. We must take action to protect monarch butterfly populations.
The milkweed plant is what newly hatched caterpillars exclusively eat but these plants are suffering because they grow closely to GMO crops. A 2012 study found that 58 percent of milkweed disappeared between 1990 and 2010, leading to an 81 percent decline in the monarch population.
Additionally, farmers spray pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, on their crops. Neonics are absorbed by the plant and become part of its pollen, nectar, and leaves. The plant then becomes toxic to pests and to monarch butterflies. Neonics have also contributed to a decline in bee populations with nearly a 30 percent annual reduction. In monarch butterflies, the neonic concentration found on milkweed plants adjacent to sprayed crops is high enough to stunt caterpillar growth and development. If we stop killing milkweed in the Midwest, caterpillar growth and development could easily be restored.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that its mission is to protect human health and the environment. While they have issued a moratorium on new neonics, they are continuing to uphold existing permits, such as the ones that have already decimated bee and monarch butterfly populations.
The monarch butterfly population has declined so much that a single storm could wipe out the migrating insects entirely. The monarch butterfly is valuable to our ecosystem. They are an important element in the food chain and support a variety of other prey and parasites. Monarch butterflies are crucial pollinators and have also been used to study habitat loss and climate change.
By signing this petition below, you are urging the EPA’s Administrator, Gina McCarthy, to cancel all permits for neonics, to urge farmers to decrease their usage of herbicide-resistant crops, and ban herbicides with glyphosate.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
The Environmental Protection Agency needs to cancel farmers’ permits to use insecticides with neonicotinoids and ban herbicides with glyphosate. These two types of chemicals are causing monarch butterflies to die out at an alarming rate, which may lead to their extinction.
The milkweed plant is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs and is the food that newly hatched caterpillars exclusively eat. The milkweed plant typically lives adjacent to sprayed crops, making this crucial plant suffer and decline. Monarch butterfly habitats have decreased by nearly 80 million acres in recent years. Usage of herbicides with glyphosate and insecticides with neonicotinoids has led to 58 percent loss of milkweed in the Midwest and an 81 percent decline in the monarch butterfly population.
If the EPA continues allowing herbicides with glyphosate and insecticides with neonicotinoids, the monarch butterflies will disappear in our lifetime. Monarch butterflies play an important part in our ecosystem as pollinators and are a vital element in the food chain.
I urge you to stop killing monarch butterflies. Please don’t allow any more monarch butterfly habitat to be destroyed and its larva, the monarch caterpillar, to endure stunted growth and development. Ban the neonicotinoids and glyphosate in all herbicides and insecticides in the Midwest.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: proedding