I am not one to get into politics or to publicly express how I feel, but I feel the need to share my concerns. Now I am unaffiliated and will say this, I have never told anyone who I voted for and I am not here to start a war of whether Trump is the right man for the job or not. I simply am only addressing one area of his policies, wildlife has been my entire life for all of my twenty-one years on this earth. When I first started my journey as a wildlife rehabber, I quickly realized that it wasn’t a job it was a lifestyle. Do any of you have a job like this? Everywhere I go I am representing my field and actively working to change the future to better protect our wildlife and ecosystems.
Watching Trump make his picks for departments leaves my gut churning with fear for all of the wildlife that will be impacted. So, I have decided I will write one letter a week to the White House, expressing my concerns. Did you know that you can submit an online letter/e-mail from the White House website, yet you only have a limited number of words? That is why I am going to send one letter a week, to be able to put all my concerns into words for him. Though I know realistically Trump will never read my words, that’s someone else’s job. I feel as though I must do something. I don’t like the helpless feeling of sitting back and watching him talk with utter disregard for the natural world around him. It’s a threat to wildlife, it’s a threat to my field, and it’s a threat to all American’s future. It’s not much of a plan but it’s better than nothing, right? This week I wrote about the border wall which was hard to do with limited words but I managed. I will post what I wrote here and I would love any feedback or ideas of what I should address next for anyone else who shares concerns, even if you don’t live in America.
Dear President Trump,
I am writing to you to urge you to reconsider some of your beliefs on climate change and on the environment. Many of the policies you speak about repealing or implementing have a great impact on our environment.
You wish to build a wall to prevent illegal immigrants from entering this country. I will tell you this the immigrants can climb the wall, the immigrants will find ways around the wall, and the immigrants can destroy the wall. The wall will not prevent immigrants from entering our country, which was founded to be a place of freedom for ALL people. However, the wall will prevent pygmy owls, big horned sheep, and cougars from crossing over further fragmenting their habitat. I live in the NC Appalachians where large mammals have been eradicated such as the elk, cougars, wolves, and before reintroduction efforts, bears. Without these key predators, prey animals like deer overpopulate. This increases the chance of drivers hitting deer with their vehicles further endangering the roadways. I am sure that you have heard about Yellowstone and the wolves, a classic example of an unbalanced ecosystem. When the 650-mile long wall was built-in Texas in 2008, a list was submitted detailing species that would be tremendously impacted. That list was extensive considering the Rio Grande Valley is one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems in North America. Of the species on the list, 10 were listed as both state and federal endangered species list and 23 of those species were on the Texas threatened list. One of the most concerning species is the ocelot, which is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. It is estimated that only about 50 of these unique mammals remain in the United States, and the number only continues to plummet.
It affects the biologist and conservationist who work in the area studying the species, a loss of species would be a loss of jobs for those Americans. It would be a loss of income from tourism due to several nature preserves in the area. It would affect the residents of border towns by putting a barrier between commerce and business relationships forged over the years. Build a relationship with our neighbor, walls don’t solve problems.
Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen of the United States
Image from Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/2016/02/26/environmental-impact-us-mexico-border-wall-426310.html), showing a pair of javelina turn away from the wall unable to find a way to cross.
Image from National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/us-mexico-border-fence-wildlife/index.html?source=rss), showing a mountain lion trying to cross the wall.