“…NRDC is calling on EPA to re-examine the widespread use of glyphosate, commonly called Roundup, in light of its impacts on monarch butterflies. Glyphosate was last approved by EPA in 1993 before the adoption of genetically modified crops that are tolerant to its use, known as “Roundup Ready” crops. Now, however, Roundup Ready corn and soy dominate the agricultural system and the use of glyphosate has skyrocketed tenfold to 182 million pounds annually. As a result, milkweed – which is the sole food source for monarch butterfly larvae – has all but been eliminated from farm fields across the Midwest. At the same time that spraying of glyphosate has soared, the monarch butterfly population has been plunging. This winter the population at their Mexican wintering grounds fell to just a tenth of its running average, to 33.5 million, and a calamitous drop from a high of one billion monarchs in 1997, the year after the first Roundup Ready crops were introduced to the market. Because of this alarming decline, researchers this year declared the monarch’s migration is at “serious risk of disappearing.” This means we are in danger of losing, in just a few short years, a marvel of nature that has existed for millennia. The monarchs’ annual flight from a tiny area of Mexico to as far as Canada and back, all in a single season and spanning several generations, is a unique phenomenon still mysterious to science.”
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