John Oliver explains how it works and why it matters.
And this was a bit I hadn’t realized:
Trump Is Blowing Up a National Monument in Arizona to Make Way for the Border Wall
Contractors working for the Trump administration are blowing apart a mountain on protected lands in southern Arizona to make way for the president’s border wall. The blasting is happening on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups….
Celebrated as “a pristine example of an intact Sonoran Desert ecosystem,” Organ Pipe was designated as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Even before the explosions began, the construction there was already one of Trump’s most controversial border wall projects, unfolding on the homelands of the Tohono O’odham and in areas that are ostensibly safeguarded by the strictest public-land designations on the books….
But it’s been clear from the start that Trump does not care about the law, much less about the ecological systems we all rely on.
The expansion of the border wall under Trump has been made possible, in part, by a post-9/11 piece of legislation known as the Real ID Act, which grants DHS sweeping authority to waive existing laws in order to construct border barriers. The Trump administration has used the act to waive dozens of laws — from the Environmental Protection Act to the Endangered Species Act — in order to push through new border wall construction projects….
Trump’s wall is destroying the environment activists are protecting
Imagine dedicating your entire life to protecting a place. Then imagine watching everything you’ve worked to protect be bulldozed by a desperate, self-serving president.
That’s what’s happening right now to career scientists and conservationists at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on Arizona’s border with Mexico.
I used to work there too. It breaks my heart.
Organ Pipe, a sprawling 500-square-mile wilderness area home to the best preserved Sonoran Desert ecosystem on the planet, is being butchered by President Trump’s border wall….
Picture is of Organ Pipe National Monument, by the National Park Service. Read the whole thing, with more pictures by Jordahl.
The wall is destroying the fragile ecosystem park service scientists have dedicated their lives to protect. It will stop migrating wildlife in their tracks, preventing animals like desert bighorn sheep, Sonoran pronghorn and even cactus ferruginous pygmy owls — which rarely fly higher than 12 feet — from finding water, food and mates.
It will cause flooding and soil erosion, sully Organ Pipe’s spectacular dark night skies with blinding floodlights and destroy a huge swath of habitat to create a 60-foot dead-zone that Border Patrol will pave with a patrol road and stake with sensors.
It will destroy indigenous sacred sites and burial grounds. At least 20 archeological sites will be destroyed. Construction crews have already unearthed human remains….
If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. The framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves if right and truth don’t matter. And you know that what he did was not right.
And even those who survive may have no habitat to return to. From the Washington Post:
A billion animals have been caught in Australia’s fires. Some may go extinct.
Some of the rarest species on Earth are threatened by fires scorching their habitats, scientists warn.
…More than 1 billion mammals, birds and reptiles nationwide — some of them found nowhere else on Earth — may have been affected or killed by the fires sweeping across Australia, according to a University of Sydney estimate. The potential toll is far greater when other types of animals are included.
“We’re not just talking about koalas — we’re talking mammals, birds, plants, fungi, insects, other invertebrates, amphibians, and bacteria and microorganisms that are critical to these systems,” said Manu Saunders, a research fellow and insect ecologist at the University of New England in Armidale.
Individual animals might survive, but when their habitat is gone, “it doesn’t matter,” Saunders said. “They’ll die anyway.”…
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. #goodtrouble
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) June 27, 2018
Truckload after truckload of massive metal bollards are being hauled into Organ Pipe to build Trump’s wall.
The barrier will stop migrating wildlife in their tracks, severing this UNESCO biosphere reserve from all habitat south of the border.
📷 Rosemary Schiano pic.twitter.com/D73VAGejW4
— Laiken Jordahl (@LaikenJordahl) December 16, 2019
ALERT: DHS contractors spotted drilling well just 8 miles from Organ Pipe’s Quitobaquito spring. This well taps the La Abra aquifer — the same source that feeds Quitobaquito and the endangered species that depend on it.
Footage shot this morning by Rosemary Schiano: pic.twitter.com/aOggQmLiJd
— Laiken Jordahl (@LaikenJordahl) December 16, 2019
“This is exactly how you cause extinction. You fragment habitat and populations into smaller and smaller sizes, their genetic diversity decreases, they become more vulnerable to disease and inbreeding, and they wink out.” – @LaikenJordahl https://t.co/zOk5Px12yV
— D.C. Environmental Film Fest (@dceff_org) December 16, 2019