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This election has been known for its unique hostility and unprecedented style of commencement, the current presidential election is, uniformly agreed upon, as one of the most divisive political events of our time. The name Donald Trump conjures images of walls, immigration, and curt decisive statements. However, a much-overlooked issue when facing the behemoth that is Donald Trump is the environment.

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Before drawbridges are pulled up and guards raised, it would be very appreciated if an open mind was kept while reading this blog. I am not trying to write any sort of Pro-Hillary or Anti-Trump propaganda, but rather, address an issue many of us are directly involved in.

Anyway, back to the wall. When looking for possible solutions to certain issues it is important to consider all impacts the solution will have, both negative and positive. Trump’s solution to immigration is no different. The area surrounding both sides of the current wall and the proposed extension to the wall is home to some of North America’s richest ecosystems. According to Krista Schlyer, a reporter for newsweek.com the Rio Grande River Valley is a busy migration path for 500 different species of birds, home to 700 species of vertebrates, and many different species of plants. These plants and animals include the saguaro cactus, roadrunners, the endangered North American Jaguar, and Ocelot. Adele Conover of the Smithsonian was quoted as saying the once common ocelot’s population now hovers around 80-120 cats, 40 of which live in the region that the wall would cut in half. For more information, you can read more about this topic here.

Unsurprisingly, animals do not have much of a concept of political boundaries or international affairs. When choosing their habitats they do not much care for whether their hunting territory is in Mexico or United States. By creating physical boundaries, we break up ecosystems with potentially devastating consequences.

 

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For example, the Black bear that lives primarily in Texas relies on mating with their cousins in Mexico. With the new wall that trump has estimated to be somewhere between 30-60 feet high and made of pure concrete, it is certainly unlikely that the black bears of the United States and the bears in Mexico will be able to find any way around to continue mating.

As well as the direct consequences a wall like this could have on the environment, there are many other indirect ramifications this may have. Some of these include the accidental destruction of habitats by redirection of watershed leading to flooding as well as psychological damages to the animals living in the area. In a BBC article written by Jonathan Sullivan on the topic, he tells a brief anecdote about the death of thousands of antelopes in the 1880s due to the construction of railroads. The antelopes were unable to cross the tracks and, as a result, more than 10,000 antelopes died. To think that something as small as a railroad track can kill thousands of animals it is hard to imagine the result of a 2,000-mile wall.

To conclude I believe decisions like the decision to build the Great Wall of Trump should not be taken lightly, and every outcome must be investigated. This possible repercussion is one that I do not believe has been given proper consideration, especially due to the fact that I had not heard of it until I typed science into the BBC website and it came up as a minor article. So next time you hear mention of the “the wall” think of all the animals it affects.

 

 

Conover, Adele. “Not a Lot of Ocelots.” Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian, June 2002. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/not-a-lot-of-ocelots-63683601/?no-ist>

Gaskill, Melissa. “The Environmental Impact of the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall.”Newsweek. 2016 NEWSWEEK LLC, 21 May 2016. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. <http://www.newsweek.com/2016/02/26/environmental-impact-us-mexico-border-wall-426310.html>

Sullivan, Jonathan. “What Would Trump’s Wall Mean for Wildlife?” BBC News. BBC Online, 1 Sept. 2016. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. <http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37200583>

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1 thought on “The Real Losers of Trump’s Wall

  1. Alexander Mark Schaefer

    I really like the fact that you put wildlife in the equation. With the shit show we’re looking at I really haven’t seen any input like this. I never really took a step back and looked at the picture in this perspective. I hope more people read this post and have the same thoughts that are resonating in me right now. The following article http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/3509 discusses possible steps of ecological restoration I hope you enjoy.

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