What Will It Take to Stop Trump From Bulldozing Most Diverse Butterfly Center for Border Wall Section Already Funded?
Bulldozers are expected to arrive at the National Butterfly Center in February or early March. A planned 5.5 mile section of concrete and steel border wall that is already funded will cut straight through the most diverse butterfly sanctuary in the U.S.
Marianna Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center believes most Americans are unaware that 33 new miles were funded in the 2018 Omnibus spending bill in March. The National Butterfly Center is on a segment of those 33 new miles, costing roughly $30 million per mile according to Wright.
EcoWatch teamed up with passionate individuals working on the border with the Center for Biological Diversity and the National Butterfly center on Wednesday to educate Facebook Live viewers on what is happening on the grounds. Viewers asked thought-provoking questions and left encouraging comments such as, "Calling my Senators right now."
"Nature knows no borders," said Laiken Jordahl, Center for Biological Diversity borderlands campaigner. "Animals have evolved to migrate freely for millennia and now we are proposing quite literally to slice the continent in two with the border wall. To think that we could do something like that free of consequence is delusional."
Wright states that the morale on the ground right now is "pretty bad." To date, 28 laws have been waived for border wall construction including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
"The potential impacts are devastating," said Wright. "Especially for animals like the ocelot where we have fewer than 80 known in existence."
Not only will migration routes be divided for hundreds of species, including those endangered such as the jaguar and Mexican gray wolf, but the border wall will divide tribal nations and interfere with the flow of water in certain sections.
"Border walls are horrifically damaging for the environment," said Jordahl. "If these plans do move forward they will certainly be met with vociferous opposition," said Jordahl.
As one viewer asked, "Can we stop the construction of what has already been funded?" Jordahl answered with a hopeful response, urging viewers to continue to weigh in to Congress and to show up on the ground and fight when the time comes. He states that we must continue to put pressure on U.S. Customs and Border Protection and make them question the morality of their actions.
"No, we cannot stop this," said Wright in a comment sent to EcoWatch. "Nothing Trumps eminent domain, so they will seize the property."
Whether or not we can stop the already funded destruction of the National Butterfly Center is up in the air and resistance plans are pending. However, Jordahl remains hopeful about maintaining #NoBorderWall advocacy.
"I do believe that people can change and I do believe that if we make this project so toxic and so unpalatable, they might reconsider."
The interview ends on a positive note as Jordahl urges viewers to remember to call their senators, regardless of who they are and to change the narrative whenever speaking about the borders. The borderlands are incredibly biodiverse filled with breathtaking flora and fauna—a true national treasure—and should not be viewed as a dangerous and out of control place.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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