The numbers are in from this season’s butterfly count: once in the millions, now there are only 29,000 western monarch butterflies left in California.
That’s a 99% population decline of these essential pollinators. And we’re not only losing monarchs — 40% of invertebrate pollinators, including the honeybees, are on the brink of extinction. If we lose them, it will be catastrophic for the ecosystems and food systems on which we rely.
And it’s all for the sake of corporate greed. Big Ag and fossil fuel corporations are driving butterfly decline through pesticide use, climate change, and habitat loss. One of the worst culprits is Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup®, which is killing off young monarchs’ only food source, milkweed.
Pollinators, like the bees, sit at the bottom of the food web, sustaining plant life, which feeds and shelters animals, which then feed animals higher up the food chain, ensuring healthy, biodiverse ecosystems. Human beings are a part of this web of life, and we depend on its functioning. For example, the vast majority of our most important food crops rely on honeybee pollination. So it’s ironic that our food system itself is threatening pollinators.
But it’s not surprising.
In the industrial agriculture model, plants like milkweed are seen as weeds that must be killed in order for profitable crops to grow. The true nature and value of our complex web of life is obscured and deprioritized, for the sake of profit. Big Ag is turning varied, life-filled landscapes into monocultures that destroy soil and wreck our climate.
This short-term thinking is what we’re fighting here at Save the Bees. In order to build a truly just, healthy and sustainable food system, we have to think holistically about both problems AND solutions. And we can only implement those solutions with everyone’s help.
We’re up against incredibly powerful industries. Already-huge corporations like Bayer and Monsanto have merged to consolidate control and maximize profits. They’re spreading myths and influencing research about the safety of their products. They spend millions lobbying and their former employees have landed key jobs in government agencies that are supposed to be protecting people and the planet. All to avoid regulations when clear science shows that their products are dangerous — such as Roundup®’s links to cancer.
It can feel overwhelming and frightening. But we can’t give up. We can’t let corporations destroy our planet at our expense. That’s why, with your support, we’re campaigning on multiple fronts to address the root causes of our planet’s crises.
And when we come together, we win. Just last month, after we and our allies pushed governments around North America and the world to ban the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos, Dow announced it would stop selling this poison.
Together, the pollinator community fought, and we won! With your support, we can win on Roundup® and beyond. Together, we’re reclaiming power and fighting for all of our well-being.