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Why is there a decline in monarch butterflies?

All of us who are in the least bit concerned with the environment, the outdoors, nature or the planet have heard that there has been a twenty year decline in the population of monarch butterflies in North America.

In the 90’s the population of the monarchs was estimated to be almost a billion butterflies, today’s population is around ninety million.

The monarch butterflies west of the Rockies overwinter along central coast region of California. Their population has dwindled to around two hundred thousand from over a million, twenty years ago. Scientists have warned that the western monarchs have an eighty percent chance of being extinct within the next fifty years!

Total area occupied by monarch colonies at overwintering sites in Mexico.


One of the major reasons is the fact that they’ve lost over a hundred and fifty million acres of their habitat because of the use of of the broad spectrum herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is being sprayed on GMO corn, soy, canola, alfalfa and cotton. This practice has devastated the ONLY plant that monarch caterpillars eat… milkweed. The truth is simple: no milkweed… no monarchs. And this is a loss for all of us. Not only are they beautiful and amazing, but the monarchs help our environment as pollinators.

One of the things that we all can do is plant milkweed in our gardens and landscapes as well as in our communities to help offset this crisis, like groups like the Pollinator Posse in Oakland:

The other thing we can do is stop supporting the markets and companies that sell GMO food products.

In our book, it’s alright to say no to GMOs.

Monarch Butterfly on a tree trunk.
Monarch Butterfly

© Randy Ritchie 2019


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Aug 18, 2021

Greatt read thanks

Randy Ritchie
Randy Ritchie
Jul 20, 2023
Replying to

Our pleasure Violet, I'm glad you liked it. Incidentally I just found out how to respond to comments :) Sorry so late!

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