Butterflies losing vital forests, milkweed
By Tracy Wilkinson LOS ANGELES TIMES
AP FILE PHOTO
The monarch butterfly is in rapid decline.
MEXICO CITY — The annual migration to Mexico of millions of orange-and-black monarch butterflies could come to a virtual halt if the insect’s natural habitat is not urgently salvaged.
That is the conclusion of a long list of scientists, artists and environmentalists who are calling on the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada to act swiftly to protect butterfly breeding grounds. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are to meet in Mexico this week to discuss economy, trade and other issues.
Blame long has been put on rampant illegal logging in Mexico that destroys the forests where the insects spend the winter. Increasingly, however, activists say blame must be placed on eradication of the milkweed plants in the U.S. where the butterflies lay their eggs and monarch caterpillars eat.
Especially in the U.S. Corn Belt, the planting of genetically modified, herbicide-resistant corn and soybean varieties has grown dramatically. The insecticides that are used destroy all other plant life, including the milkweed — the only plant eaten by monarch caterpillars.
- Activists warn that the disappearance of the monarch bodes ill for worldwide ecology, akin to the loss of bees.
(It is clear that no-one wants to see this happen. We can’t keep losing so much that is important to our planet – therefore to us. The insecticides and other chemicals cannot be allowed to destroy all of us — especially in the name of profits for big business. Better they should behave like good neighbors and change their ways, rather than kill us all off.
If there is one thing we know, it won’t get done unless we speak up – “loudly” and we must let our elected representative know what we think and how important it is to us. This is our only “home”. Jan)