Do Consequences Matter?

At Lehigh, we’re required to take various classes that don’t match our major but are mandatory in order to complete our degrees. These classes range from humanities to math to science. We all complain about being forced into classes that often don’t match our interests and are typically very challenging because of our lack of knowledge on the topic. I equally share these sentiments especially when it came to taking statistics however I have found that I really enjoy taking science classes at Lehigh.

You probably won’t hear me saying that while I’m studying for my exam’s but regardless of the classes difficulty I’ve really learned a lot about the environment. Furthermore, I’ve begun to see just how interconnected the environment is with my global studies major. Environmental concerns have become increasingly politicized over the last several years and even more so with this new administration. Every week, our Professor asks us to write a journal entry about a topic of our choosing. I’ve largely used the space to explore the connections between the environment and politics. I’ve also been using it as a venting space (sorry Professor Booth).

What I learned this week is what a huge impact a border wall will have on the environment and the hundreds of animal species living around the wall or migrating through that area. I listened to a podcast by NPR called, “Proposed Border Wall Would Affect Many Endangered Species”. That discusses the impacts of the wall and also claims that the administration is paying little attention the environmental consequences of the wall. One man said that the wall is like drawing an arbitrary line through a species diverse area while another said that the wall is “a symbol of failure, a symbol of practices that didn’t work and a symbol of fear”. The podcast was less than five minutes long so I decided to dig a little deeper to learn more about these environmental consequences.

Erika Bolstad of the Scientific Reporter wrote an article called “Trump’s Wall Could Cause Serious Environmental Damage” that outlines the various consequences of the wall. Environmentalists say that the wall will cut off the flow of water and wildlife between the two groups and climate activists said that the construction of the wall will emit unnecessary CO2 into the atmosphere.

Some of the effected animals include wolves, ocelots and jaguars who all require migration corridors in ordered to survive in the wild.

Dan Millis is a program manager of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands project and he said that current walls and fences are already having detrimental effects on wildlife construction and that the wall will only further contribute to these issues. Others said that a wall will lead to erosion and flooding in nearby communities.

Furthermore, many say that Trump needs to solve climate change in order to slow the flow of migrants into America instead of further contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases. Many people migrate because of a lack of clean water or a reduction in land due to the effects of climate change. These people are called environmental refugees and they are expected to rise in numbers over the coming years. If Trump were to solve the root of the problem, then he would see success in his mission to isolate America from people looking for better lives. This is because their lives would be improved if the world saw a reduction in effects caused by climate change.

We must encourage our representatives to support climate change instead of rejecting it or worse, contributing to it.

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