Save Monarch Butterflies
What's At Stake
Loss of habitat and heavy use of toxic herbicides are putting monarch butterflies at risk.
Every year, North American monarch butterflies journey 3,000 miles from Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains across the United States to Canada and back again. During this continental crossing, they pollinate, support healthy ecosystems, and bring joy to those who spot them.
But toxic herbicides like glyphosate are putting a stop to the monarchs’ legendary migrations before they begin—decimating the native milkweed plants that their caterpillars need to survive.
Now these pollinators are in crisis. Twenty years ago, their population numbered almost one billion. But as use of the weed-killer glyphosate began to skyrocket, that number has dropped an alarming 80 percent.
NRDC is not only urging people to help replant milkweed along the monarch migration route but also fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s dangerous decision to allow the use of glyphosate and other toxic herbicides—which is bad for butterflies and people, alike. (Human exposure to glyphosate-based products like Roundup has been linked to blood cancers including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.)
Only strong EPA action can keep the monarch butterfly from collapse. Our scientists and lawyers will keep fighting so that the next generation won’t miss out on the awe-inspiring migration of this North American icon.
Call on the Biden administration to take bold action in its first 100 days
Reporting, expert commentary, analysis, and more.
The yearly count of the eastern population of North American monarch butterflies increased dramatically this year—more than it has been in over 10 years. Despite this welcome increase, monarch butterflies continue to face an uncertain future.
The approximate number of the current monarch population, down from ONE BILLION two decades ago