As you may already know, we are a small, independent tea company located in the Rocky Mountains, just down the road from Aspen, Colo. We live here because we love it -- the beauty of the outdoors and all the recreational opportunities that surround us. And of course, that makes one of our priorities preserving the environment, both flora and fauna.
It may be a little strange to lump tiny insects in with moose and black bears in the fauna category, but we learned something interesting last week during National Pollinators Week: One out of every three bites of food you take is brought to you by pollinators! And pollinators may include tiny insects like bees, butterflies and beetles, but also birds, bats, and some small mammals whose names presumably don’t begin with the letter “b”. Our favorite pollinator happens to be butterflies, those tiny works of art that flutter around and alight weightlessly on flowers at this time of year.
Much has been written about bee hives around the world experiencing colony collapse disorder, where most worker bees responsible for pollination disappear. Less has been written about the sudden decline in the population of the western monarch butterfly, possibly because its potential extinction was only recognized in the past year. Annual counts of the insect where it winters in California show that its numbers have been decreasing since the 1980s, but to put this decline in sharper relief, consider that after exceedingly low counts of around 30,000 butterflies for 2018 and 2019, an all-time low of just 1,914 butterflies were counted in 2020. That’s a 99.9 percent population decline since the 1980s.
Possible causes may include climate change, loss of flowering plants across the butterfly’s range, and pesticide use. How can a butterfly lover help?
We’re so glad you asked! The Monarch Action, Recovery and Conservation of Habitat Act (the MONARCH Act) was introduced to lawmakers this past March and would provide $12.5 million per year to support on-the-ground conservation projects to stabilize and save the western population of monarch butterflies. An additional 12.5 million per year would implement the existing Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan.
Tell your members of Congress to support the MONARCH Act! Click here for an easy-to-fill-out form to make your voice heard, and we’ll remain hopeful that together we can save the western monarch butterfly from extinction.
Thank you from all of us at Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company!