The Monsanto Company is part of a “Big Five” of chemical companies that have shaped the way we do agriculture in the United States, based on the post-World War II model of toxic, synthetic pesticides and large-scale farming operations.
While some say this style helped launch an agricultural revolution to help feed more hungry people, it has also caused massive collateral damage in the form of plummeting bee populations, over 200,000 deaths caused directly by pesticide exposure each year, and even the killing off of the iconic monarch butterfly population.
If you’ve been noticing a distinct lack of butterflies lately, you’re not alone: a shocking 90 percent drop in the species has been recorded over the last 20 years.
A recent study linked the die-off to Monsanto’s glyphosate and Roundup chemical formulations, but Monsanto seems hell-bent on defending the reputation of its infamous weedkiller no matter what.
And similarly to how they’ve reacted to the ongoing bee die-off they helped create, the company (and others like Bayer, BASF and more) seem more in denial than ever before about how to correct it.
Monsanto, Bayer and Others Join to “Save” the Butterfly From Extinction
If the monarch numbers continue to decline at current rates, a spot on the endangered species list is inevitable.
In other words, entire generations of children might grow up without ever seeing the captivating black-and-orange butterflies.
In order to supposedly help save the species, a coalition of chemical companies including Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Bayer, DuPont and Syngenta have announced the launch of a collaborative group called Farmers for Monarchs.
“There might be many things that we disagree on,” said Pamela Bachman, an environmental engagement worker for Monsanto according to CNN. “(But) we all agree on Monarch recovery.”
Thus far, Monsanto has committed $3.6 million to help farmers plant milkweed, a welcome contribution to be sure.
But even ardent Monsanto supporter Bill Nye the “Science Guy” admits that Monsanto and their allies in this project have “accidentally decimated” the butterfly population, making these gestures nothing but a band-aid on a gaping wound.
Monsanto’s “Save the Butterflies” Coalition Falls Way Short
While Monsanto and others’ contributions look good on paper, it’s important to keep in mind that these corporations rake in billions each year while producing products that are massacring butterflies and bees.
Take the chemical company BASF for example, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, which is part of the new coalition and produces glyphosate for its ‘Kixor’ herbicide (along with an ‘Extreme’ brand herbicide sprayed on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO soybeans).
The company’s 2017 yearly revenues totaled over 77 billion dollars, and yet their contribution to saving the monarchs is a mere 18,000 seeds per year given to farmers.
According to CNN, over one million and a half acres of milkweed is needed to begin to reverse the massive monarch butterfly decline — 18,000 seeds from the world’s largest chemical company clearly isn’t going to solve anything.
Meanwhile, a quick visit to the Farmers for Monarchs website shows very little concrete information on what the group will actually be doing on the ground.
Despite the billions and billions of dollars these companies rake in every year, they have once again ignored the elephant in the room: organic and natural farming is still the only way to feed the world and help restore bee and butterfly populations at the same time.
The Problem with Monsanto and Bayer’s Claims
While Monsanto, Bayer and other companies continue to play God with our food system in light of a new $125 million dollar deal to flood the market with GMOs, they are also doing the same with our natural world.
Anybody who thinks the very chemical companies whose flagship products are destroying monarch habitats has it in them to actually fix the destruction they’ve caused is clearly dreaming.
If it were as simple as just planting a ton of milkweed, it already would have been done by now.
(Click here to sign a petition to Monsanto to take Roundup off the market and stop killing butterflies).
But the truth is that these companies simply refuse to change, and are willing to take our pollinators down with them all in the pursuit of profit.
This is one change we will have to make at the grassroots level, because trusting the fate of the monarchs to Bayer and Monsanto is madness, and anyone with even basic knowledge of the true, sordid histories of these companies should know that.
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