I had the pleasure of interviewing Chip Taylor, ecologist and founder of MonarchWatch.org. He recently received the the NRDC 2014 Growing Green Award for his work with the monarch butterflies.
Our monarch butterflies are in trouble. Last year there were approximately 30 to 35 million monarchs overwintering in Mexico. In 1996, there were over 1 billion! What a tremendous decrease in numbers in 15 years. Chip attributes this loss to several factors: overuse of herbicides and pesticides, loss of habitat due to conversion to farmland and loss of habitat due to development. With the heavy use of Round-Up in corn and soybean crops, milkweed , the habitat for monarchs, has disappeared from corn and soybean crops where it previously flourished.
So why do we care if the monarchs are disappearing? Besides their beauty, they are not only pollinators themselves, but are also the “representative” for other pollinators like bees. As the monarchs disappear, so do the pollinators that share the same habitat. And pollinators are essential to our ecosystem and to our food system.
Take a listen to Chip’s interview – he has a lot of interesting and important things to say.
If you would like to take action, visit his website at monarchwatch.org to plant your milkweed today! What a gift to have your own personal monarch butterfly habitat in your own yard and helping the monarch population at the same time.