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'Borders & Ecology' workshop at No Borders Camp

by p & l
"Considering the Environmental Impacts of the Border Regime; and Agitating for Ecological Action Against the Wall"
Today at No Borders Camp a workshop was hosted on Borders & Ecology. Much of the talk focused the growing campaign around defending the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area from the devestation of an expanded border wall. One of the most important riparian areas in the United States, the San Pedro River runs through the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sonoran Desert in southeastern Arizona. The river’s stretch is home to 84 species of mammals, 14 species of fish, 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 11,200 years ago. It has been recognized by the American Bird Conservancy as the first "globally important bird area," by the Nature Conservancy as one of the eight "last great places" in the Northern Hemisphere and by Birding magazine as the world's best birding area.

Last month the Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff suspended nineteen laws in Arizona that stood in the way of a two-mile section of border fence slated for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act , the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Antiquities Act. Under Section 102 of the 2005 Real ID Act, Congress offered Homeland Security the power to waive laws conflicting with border “security”. This is the third time it has been envoked for the border wall construction, and is not presumed to be the last, as there is construction slated for similarly protected environmental lands in Texas, such as the rare, species-rich The Sabal Palm Audubon Center in Brownsville.

The 'Borders & Ecology' workshop also touched on the campaign to stop I-69. Although this effort is currently based out of Indiana. The road is a proposed as a 'NAFTA Superhighway' with the ultimate destination of crossing the Mexico/Texas border to facilitate corporate globalization. While this road is being fought on the ground by farmers and residents in rural southern Indiana, a strong component has been a solidarity-driven interest in stopping U.S. interests from building new infrastructure to further exploit Mexico and Central America--which of course, is one of the primary forces driving migrants north to the borderlands. For more info on I-69 and resistance against it, check out:.

Tomorrow (Sunday), there will be a continuation of the workshop, beginning at 8am with a walking tour of our Camp's local canal system, explaining the impact that borders have on water quality and regional ecosystems. The talk will also elaborate on plans to resist the new call construction plans.

Below is the text from a flyer distributed at the workshop:

"Considering the Environmental Impacts of the Border Regime; and Agitating for Ecological Action Against the Wall

Most of us here at No Borders Camp recognize that what destroys our human communities also devestates ecological communities and the other animals that we share the planet with. As many of us may also know, environmental activists have a rocky history of siding with xenophobia and racism, especially at the border. Thankfully, the last decade of organizing against corporate globalization has re-affirmed the common struggle of movements. Many groups have now been fighting on a global level against the 'free trade' agenda, which has meant increased pollution and resource extraction accompanied by lowered environmental and health standards. Through these efforts, there have been strides made in the direction of cross-movement, cross-border solidarity, but there is still plenty to be done.

The environmental movement has now found itself at the fore front of a legal fight, not just against the new border wall construction, but also against some fundamentally fascist tendencies of the Real ID Act specifically Homeland Security's authorization to override Federal laws. Time is ripe for ecological direct action efforts to kick-in—from on-the-ground blockade camps at construction sites to targeted, strategic anti-corporate campaigns against the companies profiting off the wall—and strengthen the ties between social and ecological resistance."

Below side is a list of articles and websites related to the U.S./Mexico border and environmental movements.

Updates from the environmental legal battle against the border wall and the Real ID Act:

'Prairie Chicken: Why environmental groups have been slow to fight the border wall”, from Grist

“Down with Borders, Up with Spring” from the Earth First! Journal, Lughnasadh issue 2006

“The World Looks Different From Down Here: An Earth First!er's View from the Border”, EF!Journal, 2005

“Borders Drawn in Blood” from the Earth First! Journal, Beltane issue, 2001

Root Force, a direct-action research campaign to apply pressure on U.S. interests in Latin America

Come to Florida for the Earth First! Winter Rendezvous, February 14-18, 2008 and help organize towards a cross-borders radical environmental movement?
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