The Environmental Implications of Trump’s Border Wall along Mexico Borderline

By Ian Teñido

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We should start putting some environmental implications of Trump presidency into consideration now that he is the president elect. Numerous analysists and science pundits had wished and hoped that Trump does not become who he is now; but now that he is, some of his campaign pledges must be reviewed and assessed carefully lest they make America inhabitable for the freely roaming wildlife between Mexico and the U.S.

Donald Trump’s plan to erect a towering wall as a migrant proof and a more secure option to tighten up border security will not only stop illegal emigrants from Mexico but would also, largely, affect the free movement of wildlife. I can name an endless list of animals beginning with the microorganisms to giant animals that not only depend on forage, mating and water from both sides of the boarder but also mean significantly for our environment here in the US. It seems that Mr. Trump should, right away, be taken through the ecological lessons in order to prevent such a catastrophe.

It has been a hallmark of the North America’s conservation efforts to protect the freely moving wildlife over the national borders. There is a true value in conservation and time has proven this. We cannot go around erecting infrastructure in every place we feel it should; instead we should ensure that wildlife is where it should be. As we live today, the only reason we have a variety of wildlife species in parts of the region is because of the viable and potential movements towards rescue and conserve; for instance the Jaguar. If the wall is erected, the phrase will be “build, divide and destroy!” The ability of the wildlife to roam freely is the responsibility of the US as a duty owed to the international community not to interfere with migratory species including the water. Building a wall will mean that the US has absconded its international duty to allow the migratory species to live and roam freely as such is their right and our desires are wrong because we invaded their space.

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I am insisting about free movement in this article because once the wall is erected, it will severely obstruct the movement of wildlife and not necessarily that of humans and would only stand as a symbol to regulate the Mexican Illegal Immigration. The ability to let the animals move freely is critically important because it enables the animals to source for food, water and mates. Restricting the access to these vital resources would greatly reduce the number of animals along the border including the smallest microorganisms and big predators. This impact will effectively make the affected animals less diverse and therefore more prone to drought and diseases. The ecosystem is a complex ecosystem and any trigger within it has a tendency to cascade effects down and across the entire ecosystem. From the knowledge of ecosystem, we learn that every ecosystem is held together by design. The animals and plants that exist on a certain land or waters are meant to make that environment productive and sustainable. Restricting their movement to or from the other side of the wall will make unproductive unto the environment, the role which they are meant to fulfill.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that at least 111 endangered species and 108 migratory bird species will be severely affected by the proposed unbroken barrier running along the entire land border between Mexico and the US. Although some species such as Eagles can fly over the barrier for as many times as it wishes, some others like pygmy owls can barely fly over a few feet wall; and although the eagle can fly over the barriers, they will be affected anyway because large portions of their habitats will be affected during and after the construction. All these impacts at some time translate into financial costs that none can accept to bear for now; maybe the president-elect Trump alone but he has also promised that Mexico will pay for it also. And it is only for the wall, what about the environmental costs and mitigation?

Article Download Link: The Environmental Implications of Trumps Border Wall along Mexico Borderline_Ian Tenido_PDF

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References

BBC News (2016). What would Trump’s wall mean for wildlife? BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37200583.

Eriksson, L. & Taylor, M. (n.d.). The Environmental Impacts of the Border Wall Between Texas and Mexico. University of Texas School of Law &Clinical Professor of Law, University of Texas. Retrieved from https://law.utexas.edu/humanrights/borderwall/analysis/briefing-The-Environmental-Impacts-of-the-Border-Wall.pdf.

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