The butterfly effect: Carol Pasternak, ‘The Monarch Crusader’, wants you to know the endangered monarch is a Jewish issue

Carol Pasternak, known to thousands of social media followers as the Monarch Crusader, walks around her monarch waystation at her Toronto home. (Photo by Ellin Bessner)

Last week, an international conservation body declared the monarch butterfly an endangered species. But that didn’t surprise Carol Pasternak, who writes under the pseudonym “The Monarch Crusader”. For years, she’s used her garden in Toronto as a launching pad to teach Canadians about the importance and habits of monarchs, which—like many Canadian Jews—spend their winters flying thousands of kilometres south to warmer climes.

Yet between climate change and rampant real estate development, butterfly habitats have been decimated in recent decades, and the insect’s population has decreased 75 percent, according to some estimates. That’s why Pasternak has transformed her townhouse lawn into a monarch sanctuary, filled with milkweed and other pollen-packed flowers that help the creatures lay new eggs. The CJN Daily team had the chance to visit Pasternak at her home to better understand the crisis, the solutions and why the species’ endangerment is a Jewish issue.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.