One Small Step for Monarchs
Hope is in the air since this past Tuesday’s election results from New Jersey, Virginia, Maine, and elsewhere. Not only that, but there is some positive garden-related news as well.
Here in my home state of Illinois, the legislature passed a bill that would prohibit local governments from listing Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) or any other native Asclepias species as a noxious weed. Practically speaking, this means that landowners can plant and grow Milkweeds, and no Village Board or County Commission can tell them otherwise.
Milkweeds, of course, are crucial to the future of Monarch butterflies, since Monarch caterpillars feed only on plants from this genus. Once common in fields and vacant lots, the advent of Roundup-ready corn and soybeans have made Milkweeds rather scarce. And yet, many continue to regard it as a plant that ought to be stamped out.
The legislation was sponsored by State Representative Anna Moeller, who also sponsored a bill designating Milkweeds as the state wildflower. Thankfully, both bills were passed with large, bipartisan majorities.
Further afield, this article in the Guardian tells us that the United Kingdom will support a total ban on neonicotinoid insecticides throughout the European Union. Neonicotinoids are considered to be a significant factor contributing to the decline of bees and other pollinators.
A partial ban by the EU has been in effect since 2013, but a more comprehensive prohibition has been proposed. The UK’s changed in position makes the prohibition, which could be voted on in December, more likely. (Nice that they can apparently do something constructive before Brexit takes affect.)
The state of Maryland and a number of US cities have also banned neonicotinoids.
All is not lost, but that is all for now.