The Wall That Could Kill All

industry-1752876_640From the beginning of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, he has always mentioned that he wants to build a wall along the US-Mexico Border. As his political career progressed and as he was elected president, a wall started becoming the wall. The wall has caused a lot of controversies within our government and society as individuals from many sides are at conflict with one another about the construction of the wall. One of the main issues is on the environmental impact the wall will have on our planet. On August 1, the Department of Homeland Security released a memo stating that the Department of Homeland Security has issued a waiver to waive certain laws and regulations to expedite the construction of the border wall along San Diego, marking this as the first major construction for the wall. Studies have shown that the wall will reap many consequences to the environment that surrounds the wall such as escalating the endangerment of more species and adding to the pollution of the terrain if the government is to proceed with this decision. The wall needs to be stopped and should not be furthered develop as the wall will only increase the rates of endangered species dying and intensify the high carbon emission level the US is producing.

Whether or not the US government wants to accept it, climate change, global warming, and the extinction of dozens of species are occurring. The environmental changes are happening everywhere around the world and as the US is one of the top global leaders, we must lead by example to help this crisis. After the US pulling out of the biggest global deal to fight against climate change, the Paris Agreement, it is quite clear that President Trump simply does not care enough about the future of our planet. To deny the evidence in support of the environmental impact the wall has is to be very bullheaded. The wall is the Trump administration’s way of trying to fight illegal immigration, but this is not the way to go. As cars and trucks pass by, they will pollute the clean air surrounding the areas of the border. More roads will need to be built to transport more materials which means pouring asphalt onto the terrain. With more human activity in the area, this also means that animals will have to flee or shelter back into more remote areas pushing them out of their natural environment where they would normally find food and clean water sources for the creatures.

The environmental consequences placed by the wall will mainly affect the 93 species that are already listed as threatened or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Some of these species include jaguars, ocelots, Mexican spotted owls, and Quino checkerspot butterflies. How the construction will affect these animals  is mainly due to pollution. The pollution starts with foreign objects on natural terrain such as metals and wires being run through land. The US government has started erecting barriers since 1994, but it was until 2010 when one-third of the border were renovated with barbed wire, steel, bollard, and chain link. The government at that time may have thought this would help with immigration issues, but the solution did not solve the illegal immigration problem. Instead, it led to more animals being displaced from their packs and many species being kept away or separated from their main water and food supplies. This construction sliced a lot of protected land along the border. With the shift from a fence to a wall, it will lead to more polluted waters from the tons of concrete that will be poured out. The foreign concrete in this natural terrain will lead to high carbon dioxide being emitted into the air from the construction. The risk of losing more endangered species is something the global community needs to take seriously, especially when there are so many endangered animals that lie right along our border.

The wall construction will start the initial phases in San Diego County as the area is, deemed by the Department of Homeland Security, of “high illegal entry.” Despite the project starting in Southern California, this wall will affect every American because we will be the ones paying for this through higher taxes and tariffs. Not only that, the American people will be contributing to the rising CO2 levels that America is ranked highest in the world for being the biggest carbon polluter in history — and this is not something that we want to be the best at. We are literally killing our planet in every passing day. With the continuation of the wall being constructed, Earth may not survive long enough for illegal immigration to be solved.

We, the American people, can make a change. Our founding fathers gave us the privilege and the right to do so. We live in a country whose political views have never been more divided, but we must come together and think about what we all share with one another. Our commonality is the fact that we live on this land and planet as one large global community representing the human race. Simply as human beings, we must fight to save our one place called home because as Earth dies, we die with it.

As an American citizen who is experiencing the cruelty of climate change in the state of Hawaii, it is almost formidable of what is to come to the environments along the border. Species that range from plants to insects to mammals are all becoming more threatened each day because our global society continues to put profit before nature. As mentioned, the US is an international powerhouse when it comes to politics and economics. With Trump’s claims of losing more job opportunities and market value by being more eco-friendly, the worst loss of all time would be the loss of Mother Earth and all of its bounty.

There are over seven billion humans who populate this planet, but there are only 113 Mexican gray wolves, one of the endangered species to be affected by the wall, in the US. There are also only dozens left on the Mexican side of the border. A wall between the wolves may make the recovery of their population almost impossible. The jaguars have started to reestablish themselves north of the border after their complete disappearance from the US in the 1960s. The current border fencing has blocked various movements and pathways for the wildcat’s survival and a bigger wall using more invasive materials will only make their survival rates lower. Similar to jaguars, ocelots face the same problem as their area of hunting only becomes smaller as the new wall will be blocking most of their feed, which is on the Mexican side of the border. At the same time, all of these animals need clean water, but as more construction implodes, their nearest water supply is highly likely to be contaminated with chemicals from asphalt and other various metals being used.  These beautiful, exotic creatures have the right to ownership of their land as much as we humans do. Animals do not have the ability to talk so it is up for us to speak on their behalf. The Trump administration needs to start learning how to empathize if they want to govern with fairness and justice.

Although people may associate a supporter of the wall as being conservative and a protester against the wall as being liberal, this is not a debate about what the wall symbolically means. As much as Trump’s wall may be a divisive symbol of fear and hatred, the wall represents the carelessness and ignorance that the government has towards the environmental issues that plagues every country. This wall will do real harm to the landscape and communities that are near the border. The fault that our government is committing is believing that security and environmental protection are two separate entities that can never be intertwined. This is false as federal agencies in Arizona have proven this wrong by opening up a borderlands environment and UNESCO biosphere reserve to fight against illegal drug activity. This project was completed in 2011 and is now called the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Organ Pipe staff work very closely with the US Customs and Border Control to combat drug activity in Arizona. This monument has helped national security exponentially as Arizona is known a state with high numbers of drug abusers and rehabilitation facilities. The project has worked simply because there is an understanding among the departments of Homeland Security, the Interior, and Agriculture that states that any interagency conflicts should be resolved by the local agency staff on the ground, which are the people who know the problems and issues about the drug activities and the natural terrain of the area the most. If the Trump administration is willing to do conduct more research and put in more effort of truly showing care to the environment, then there would not be as much as uproar from the community as there is today.

The wall needs to halt its construction and the government needs to seriously evaluate this project. Although illegal immigration and drug smuggling may be lessened from this wall, the environment will be stripped away of its cleanliness and purity entirely. Time is of the essence, particularly now, as the Trump administration has clearly made its stance on environmental changes clear. The White House may not believe in climate change or animal extinction being real issues, but we know better and we know what is truly right. We must protect all living beings in the US, not just humans. As the Department of Homeland Security has only issued the waiver only a week ago, it will be much easier to stop this wall now rather than later.

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