The President of the United States Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday with the only purpose to strengthen the barriers along the southern border with Mexico. If things go the way President Trump hopes, we will have a 2,000-mile wall that will go from the Gulf of Mexico in Texas to the Pacific Ocean. The controversial border wall will go through six diverse landscapes. Unfortunately, experts predict an ecological disaster.
The whole thing started in January, and now the Trump administration may get $6.5 billion to reach the total of about $8 billion.
The National Emergency Act allows the President to activate his powers in case of emergency and crisis. It was enacted in 1975, and allows the blockage of entities that affect “democratic institutions and the rule of law.”
President Trump was criticized from both parties. He made an official announcement via a live-stream, and even supported the declaration. The President used the opportunity to express concerns over drug and human trafficking. According to the President, the administration will probably be sued. This move triggered an avalanche of reactions. Numerous environmental groups criticized the wall and disapprove its construction, including Earth justice, the Sierra Club and the State of California.
Experts agree that Trump’s wall equals a disaster. Last year, BioScience released an analysis that supports their claims. This wall threatens nature and multinational relations. About 2,500 scientists supported this article, alerting political leaders about the upcoming crisis.
The authors of this article note that parts of this wall reduce “the area, quality, and connectivity of plant and animal habitats and are compromising more than a century of binational investment in conservation.”
Here are some of the problems this wall may cause:
Loss of habitats
The southern border lies across six ecoregions that contain ecologically diverse lands, including desert, temperate forests, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes. About 1,500 native land and aquatic animals live in this area, including 62 species that are “critically endangered,” “endangered,” or “vulnerable,” as confirmed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Five areas of this land are considered as important for the biological diversity. The National Butterfly Center is one of them. About 70 percent of its land is located on the southern border of the wall. This wall will eliminate and degrade habitants in several ways.
There are over 620 miles of “primary” pedestrian and vehicle barriers and 5,000 miles of roads and undesignated routes for for off-road patrol vehicles. The light and light pollution hurt the landscape and the environment in the worst way possible. The separation of land will endanger 800 species, as reported by Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change. About 100 species may disappear forever.
According to the Real ID Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the authority to waive laws that affect the construction of the border wall. This includes the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These two acts protected the fragile ecosystem and support its recovery. Federal agencies were required to asses the environmental effects of the proposal before turning it into an official decision.
Both acts are pulled aside, and we all know where it goes.
Harmed migratory routes for endangered species
This border stops animals from crossing lands. They are unable to access food, water, mates, etc. The wall will stop two-thirds of animals from reaching the other side of the land. About 17 percent of the 346 species will be limited to 7,700 square miles. This increases their risk of extinction.
Here is a nice example. The Peninsular bighorn sheep will be unable to move between California and Mexico to access water. The Mexican grey wolf will be stopped from reestablishing populations.
Higher emission of carbon
The MIT Technology Review suggests the wall will require about 9.7 million cubic meters of concrete and 2.3 billions kilograms of steel. In other words, there will be about 7.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Altered flow of rivers
The border wall will go through Rio Grande, Tijuana and Colorado Rivers. The construction of this wall may result in massive floods and natural disasters in areas prone to flash flooding. Large rivers are supported by dozens of smaller rivers and streams. The wall will destroy most of them. Blocking access to waters may result in a conflict between those using these rivers.
Lower conservation progress and scientific research
Collaborative conservation and research programs have protected the land for many years. The border wall will destroy all the conservation effort and scientific research that are already conducted by both governments, tribes, nongovernmental organizations and landowners.
About one-fifth of borderlands cover protected lands. There are four clusters that provide shared habitat corridor through the Sonoran Desert, Sky Islands, Big Bend and Lower Rio Grande. The controversial border wall puts investments at risk by “diverting funds away from conservation projects and toward barrier construction.”