Round Up. that squirt-squirt chemical on TV that cleans up plants out of cracks in your sidewalk?

It was discovered to be a herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.  Monsanto brought it to market in the 1970s under the trade name “Roundup”, and Monsanto’s last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.

Generically it is called glyphosate.  Glyphosate was quickly adopted by farmers, even more so when Monsanto introduced glyphosate-resistant crops, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops.  This was great for farmers.  You kill all plant-life, then plant your crops. No weeds, ever.

Industry regulators in Europe, removed from the political pressures of Monsanto,  have known for years that glyphosate causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals….

As the problem became known, Republicans in Congress shut down the accumulation of all pesticide data as of 2008….

The last data shows that 185 million tons were commercially applied, plus 5 million tons residentially, plus 15 million tons by governmental agencies… American yearly total. 205 million tons.

Last data was 2007.  This is 2013.

  • 205 million tons 2007
  • 205 million tons 2008
  • 205 million tons 2009
  • 205 million tons 2010
  • 205 million tons 2011
  • 205 million tons 2012
  • 205 million tons 2013

1230 million tons gross since last tabulation…..

Two problems.  The corn or soy you eat, is loaded with glyphosate.  Republicans have halted on domestic tests on the effects of glyphosate on humans.

Secondly, it wipes out food sources for pollinators.

The numbers of wintering Mexican Monarch butterflies registered this year are under 2 million.  Last season they were 60 million. California’s count, which once boasted 120 thousand, are down to 2000….

Something is happening.

Some is due to habitat demise.   Over 2 million acres of habitat are commercialized each year.  But habitat demise has not grown 97% to account for this year’s drop in Monarchs.  Lack of Milkweed has.  Monarchs can only live on milkweed.  Milkweed only grows on the edge of farmers fields.  It does not grow well in the shade of wooded forests.

Round-Up kills all plants other than that GMO Round-Up resistant strain planted.  If there is no milkweed, there are no monarchs.  The caterpillars never grow, the pupa never forms, the monarch never emerges, the census data drops, never to return.

Monsanto denies it has anything to do with the demise of the Monarch butterfly as a result of use of its chemical.

What can be done?

  • Force milkweed planting.  Mandate every farm designate over 1% of their crop area to milkweed production in 2014…. As with a dying child, if medical attention is not applied immediately, the patient dies.
  • Government lands likewise should be sown with milkweed seed, and allowed to lie fallow.
  • Create National attention.  When every school child becomes aware of the monarch’s plight, so will their parents.
  • Limit the amounts of Round-Up sold and applied per acre.
  • Remove the ban on testing what effects might be caused by Round-Up on human beings from eating GMO crops.  It could be worse than DDT and we wouldn’t even know….
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