Monsanto’s War on Beauty

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I’ve met some people in my life that quite simply refuse to be happy. These aren’t your average “the glass is half empty” types, but the “throw the glass on the floor because I don’t even want a glass – no matter what or how much is in it” types. I’m sure if you think about it, you have one of these people in your life. I’ll give you a hint; it’s probably a relative, because why would you be friends with someone like that? If you can’t figure out who the person in your life is; chances are, it’s you.

Death of the Monarch

Now, just because I maintain a level of manliness that involves things like badger wrestling, punching bull sharks and an extensive collection of beard maintenance supplies; doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate natural beauty. Our planet is gorgeous. The life surrounding us is inspiring and wonderful. Which is why I am a little miffed that our buddies over at Monsanto have apparently decided to kill off the Monarch butterfly. Why? To make more money, of course.

Milkweed is the Key

If you really want to get ahead in the evolution game, selecting a food source that is abundant and hearty is the key. For instance, scientists have found that 20,000 years ago or so there was a special species of monkey that existed solely on Snackwell’s 100-calorie chocolate chip cookies. Considering that Snackwell’s cookies were not released for sale until the 1990’s, this species of monkey quickly became extinct. The Monarch butterfly, on the other hand, has adapted to laying its eggs in milkweed, which the larva immediately start feeding on. Now, according to its name, milkweed, is in fact, a weed. Normally weeds grow everywhere; they are stubborn, resourceful and cunning. Good choice of larva food, Monarch. Well, it was a good choice until the world decided that corn wasn’t just yellow – it was gold. As agriculture numbers have skyrocketed, milkweed numbers have diminished. Therefore without milkweed, we have no baby Monarch butterflies. No babies equal no adults.

The Smoking Gun

Now it’s easy to look at what has been labeled “the most hated company in the world” and blame them for everything from feline leukemia to male pattern baldness. The truth is that the anti-Monsanto groups are responsible for as much spin as anyone. But in this case there is a clear correlation between the increase of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soybean usage and the loss of milkweed plants; a decline of more than 80% to be exact. As the milkweed died, the amount of Monarch butterfly egg production dropped. Karen Oberhauser, a conservation biologist with the University of Minnesota said, “We have this smoking gun. This is the only thing that we’ve actually been able to correlate with decreasing Monarch numbers.”

Fighting Back

Fortunately there are people out there in the universe that aren’t concerned with just how much chemical saturated corn they can produce. Chip Taylor is one such advocate for the Monarchs who has started Monarch Watch, an organization that monitors Monarch populations. Last year Taylor sold over 20,000 milkweed seedlings, and expects to double that this year. Despite its regal name, the Monarch butterfly has no legal department. They have no one to stand up for their cause, which is just to flutter around and lay eggs in milkweeds. Is that so bad? I think it sounds like the American dream to me, and that’s why I, for one, will be planting milkweed seedlings everywhere I possibly can. Not because I like milkweeds … But because I am protecting the butterflies. Like a man.

Justin Gammill

He is "stealthy like a ninja at midnight, yet brazen like a champion Mexican fighting chicken". Justin Gammill approaches his topics in a manner that provokes thought, laughter, and the occasional “did he just say that?”. Chances are, yes, he most certainly did just say that. So, buckle up … you never know where the train of thought is going.

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