Trump’s Border Wall Would Work, In All the Wrong Ways.

Javelinas in the creosote | Photo: Dave Hensley, some rights reserved.

Javelinas in the creosote | Photo: Dave Hensley, some rights reserved.

Chris Clarke at KCET has an excellent article up about the far reaching effects of Trump’s wall.

California’s border with Baja California is a complex region with unique environmental issues. Our Borderlands series takes a deeper look at this region unified by shared landscapes and friendship, and divided by international politics.

A female arroyo toad shelters under a streamside cottonwood in early March, twenty years from now. It’s unseasonably warm, and there’s something ancient stirring inside her. She listens. A male is singing. She finds his song beautiful. Everything in her wants to follow that sound, to find the male and mate with him. She would release her eggs for him to fertilize. Those eggs would grow in long submerged strings, until a new generation of arroyo tadpoles hatched from them a week later. Her drive to find that male is irresistable. But she cannot reach him.

A month and a half later, three hundred miles east, a small group of javelinas cools its collective heels in the shade of an ironwood tree. The engaging, pig-like beasts are hungry. A couple of them root in the soil of the wash, looking for tubers. Not far away, a mesquite hangs heavy with last year’s crop of pods. The javelinas can smell those pods, even after a season of drying on the branch. The one tree could feed the entire pack for two days, and the javelinas would disperse a few of the seeds elsewhere to make new mesquites. But that’s not going to happen. There’s something in the way.

In July, wild eyes scan and a pair of slitted nostrils sift the desert breeze. The jaguar finds no good news in the air. He curls back his upper lip and tries again, head held high. He’s not looking for food. Here in the Patagonia Mountains of southern Arizona, game is plentiful enough to keep his ribs well hidden. It’s plentiful enough, in fact, to support a few more jaguars, to provide a launch pad for North America’s largest wild cat to reinhabit the southern Rocky Mountains. But that would require the cooperation of one or more female jaguars. And thanks to a project propelled by destructive politics and fear, there won’t be any lady jaguars in the Patagonia Mountains anytime soon.

In previous articles in this series we’ve looked at a some of the likely unintended environmental consequences of the gigantic border wall proposed by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, from the climate impacts of such a massive construction project to the wall’s inevitable disruption of stream courses resulting in massive floods.

But some of the longest-lasting environmental consequences of the proposed border wall would result from the wall doing precisely what it’s supposed to do: stop migration across the border. The wall will impede a lot more than just human beings from migrating. It will stop animals as well, and their genes, and even the plant species they disperse.

This excellent, eloquent article can be read in full here. This is a discussion too few people are having, and it is a vital one. If humans are good at anything, they are absolutely great for being self-centered and consumed by the short term. Trump’s wall is a good example of that, but so is the complete lack of concern for just how far out such an abomination would ripple. Read up, learn, pass it on.


  1. cicely says

    Thing is, many of the people who think that The Wall would be a Good Thing (keeping Those People out is important!) are largely uninterested in what species might be pushed toward extinction.
    1) These are Acceptable Losses.
    2) Glod gave all these critters to Man, for his own profit, and can do as he pleases with ’em, at no penalty.
    3) They’re just pigs! We got plenty of pigs!
    4) The End of Times is approaching/here! How can the future of these animals possibly matter?

  2. says

    Yeah, I know they don’t care. I know they never will. That’s why the rest of us must care, at all costs. We aren’t just destroying other animals, we’re destroying ourselves.

  3. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Oh great, so Trump won’t be satisfied destroying people’s lives, he has to destroy the ecosystem while he’s at it. Scary.

  4. rq says

    Trump: what ecosystem? We have the greatest ecosystem in the world, it is yuuuuuuge -- even if I destroy it, I can’t destroy the ecosystem! I’m going to make the ecosystem great again.

  5. says


    Trump: what ecosystem? We have the greatest ecosystem in the world, it is yuuuuuuge – even if I destroy it, I can’t destroy the ecosystem! I’m going to make the ecosystem great again.

    That’s some scary Trump channeling you’re doing there. I can see him saying that.

  6. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    It’s totalky ok because when Mexico sends its animals, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending animals that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing fleas. They have rabies. And some, I assume, are good animals.

    Same goes for rivers.

  7. says

    Cement curing produces carbon dioxide. So, there’s that.

    My favorite solution for Texas is to give it back to Mexico. The place is, after all, full of illegal immigrants. Worse than mere illegal immigrants, they’re illegal immigrants that don’t speak the language.

  8. chigau (違う) says

    Marcus Ranum #9
    The current TexMex border looks easier to wallify than all that other interstate crap.

  9. emergence says

    Wasn’t there an article on how this wall would be impossible to build due to the sheer amount of steel and concrete needed to erect it? Has Trump even bothered to draw up any plans for how to actually assemble his monument to xenophobia?

  10. Lofty says

    The only wall Trump needs to build is one strong enough to keep out 300 million Americans when they realise they’ve been suckered by the biggest con job ever.

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