IT’S TIME FOR AMERICA’S FINEST CITY TO TAKE UP THE MAYOR’S MONARCH PLEDGE
We have some big issues in San Diego. Solving our homelessness epidemic, building more housing, figuring out better transportation – these massive issues are front and center and deserve our fullest attention. I threw my hat in the ring as a candidate for San Diego’s 2nd City Council seat because I want to work on making progress on all these problems. But I’m also running to try to make a difference on some less visible subjects too. I believe that sometimes thinking small is a great way to do something big, and some of our smallest residents are in the biggest trouble.
Monarch butterflies, a true symbol of North America, are in danger. Once plentiful, the loss of habitat and climate change has crippled monarch populations. Milkweed, the only plant that monarchs lay their eggs on and where the caterpillars become butterflies, often faces destruction as well. This has led to their population declining by roughly 90 percent in the last 20 years. The butterfly’s iconic journey from Canada to Mexico is in danger of ending in our lifetime. As an important part of the food chain and a major pollinator, the loss of monarchs would mean more than a less beautiful planet. It’d be destructive to ecosystems around the country and impact our lives on a daily basis.
Despite these grim facts, there’s still time to make a difference. There are actions we can take right.
That’s why I’m asking Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City of San Diego to sign up for the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. By following through with three or more actions, such as issuing a proclamation to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly or planting a demonstration garden at City Hall, San Diego can join over 260 cities and municipalities in helping this magnificent but vulnerable animal.
San Diego has been a civic leader on the environment by passing critical legislation like the Climate Action Plan. Let’s continue that commitment to nature by thinking smaller. Seeing city officials speaking up about an issue like the loss of Monarch butterfly population would help put a spotlight on this pressing environmental matter.
San Diego would become the 3rd most populous city and the 8th in California to take the pledge, making America’s Finest City a major example for other Golden State cities to follow. The actions that a city needs to take to take part in the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge would not only be a boon to the butterflies, but to the citizens of San Diego as well. Just look at what happened in other cities:
- In San Antonio, one of two cities that has become a Monarch Champion City (meaning they’ve completed all 24 Mayor Monarch Pledge action items), they held two festivals to create awareness and celebrate Texas’ state insect. One was even held at a brewery (hint, hint, San Diego).
- In Fayetteville, Arkansas, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department grew milkweed plants to give to local schools. When butterfly season comes around these plants will be a wonderful teaching tool to bring a more vivid learning experience to students.
- In Denver, the Mile High City created a demonstration garden at City Hall and planted milkweed in unused lots, turning potential eyesores into habitat for monarchs.
While San Diego has taken small steps to do its part, I believe the city can and must do more. Whether by planting milkweed in public spaces, providing free seeds to those who want to start their own butterfly garden or launching a Monarch Festival right here in San Diego, accomplishing even a few of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge action items would make a big difference.
In the meantime you don’t have to wait for City Hall to do your part right now. The great thing about helping out monarchs is that it’s pretty easy. Put some milkweed plants in the ground (or in a pot if you don’t have a garden) and you’re doing your part. The monarchs will take care of the rest – laying their eggs on the leaves, hatching into caterpillars and becoming butterflies themselves. If your thumb is feeling extra green, think about planting some native wildflowers as well. Beyond providing nectar for adult monarchs you’ll be lending a hand to other pollinators like bees (who are facing their own serious issues). Believe me, I’m no Kate Sessions when it comes to gardening so if I can do it so can you.
My campaign to represent District 2 in 2018 is focusing on fighting for our most vulnerable and fighting for the little guy. Weighing in at less than a gram, Monarchs are among the littlest guys of all. Lending them a hand is good place to start.