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The endangered ocelot. Photo: Tambako


The Inertia

For or against, there is little denying that a border wall along the Mexican-U.S. border would have vast effects on the human species. President Donald Trump has requested $4.1 Billion in funding for the wall which he estimates would take two years to build. The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly reviewing designs. The Border Patrol is hyped on the concept. Migration experts say it’s more symbolic than effective. All debateable.

One thing that isn’t up for debate? A wall like this is sure to produce more of a menacing effect on wildlife along the border than anything else. We already know that because of the 654 miles of wall that currently exists. “We’ve been dealing with all these negative environmental impacts of fences on the border for more than a decade,” Dan Millis of the Sierra Club Borderlands project told Vox.com for an excellent report on the issue released this month. “And Trump’s proposal would make it worse.”

That wall along the border has “effectively” cut off populations of rare species from one another and reduced their numbers. Extremely rare breeds like the jaguar and ocelot. Roads now cut into wilderness and the wall has created more flooding when it works as a dam during high water periods.

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Imagine what another 1,300 miles would mean to cover the total 1,954 miles of border? The Sierra Club and other conservation groups are specifically worried about “unfenced areas in a Texas wildlife refuge that conservationists consider some of the most ecologically valuable areas on the border — home to armadillos and bobcats,” that the DHS is looking at.

Rich ecosystems thrive in these unfenced areas. Mostly because they’re protected, federally. Imagine running a 1,954-mile fence through the most pristine wilderness areas in Alaska or other borderless areas of the U.S.? The roads alone to maintain the structure would seriously mess things up. It’s just common sense.

Bashing Trump has become a common and almost cliched. Mostly because it’s so easy with the way he’s handled his first 100 days– what with healthcare defeats and odd Twitter posts and his general reaction to criticism (please leave social media alone Mr. President). But maybe we should look closer at ourselves, and our infinite need to absolutely control everything. We’re a Type A society. The slightest curveballs seem to ‘eff up our day beyond repair (generalizing here, of course). We have no flow.

How does this pertain to border walls? People are going to come across (hell, if I lived in some of these dumpster fire-like political environments of Latin America, I’d be trying to get over the border too). We simply can’t control everything. And our wild places shouldn’t suffer for our lack of understanding that concept.


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