Border Wall Project in Texas Region May Threaten Critical Habitat of Pollinators

Journey to Mexico's butterfly sanctuaries and stand among hundreds of millions of monarchs as they complete their remarkable migration. Photo credit: Nathab.com

By John Devine
Awakening News associate editor

MISSION, Texas, Jan. 17, 2019—Mariana Wright, who’s executive director of the National Butterfly Centre, recently said in a CBC Radio interview that at the Butterfly Sanctuary that she oversees, bulldozers may soon execute the possible destruction of the sanctuary sometime within the next 30 days—due to the anticipated construction of additional border wall (or fencing) sections in the vicinity of Mission, a city in Hidalgo County, Texas.

In early December of 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allows the Trump administration to bypass several federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, to finish the “wall” (typically fencing sections) along the southern border—a development that “threatens hundreds of thousands of butterflies housed at the National Butterfly [Centre], a nonprofit organization aimed at sustaining large populations and hundreds of species of wild butterfly,” according to the New York Daily News.

Notably, the city of Mission is within a four-county area known as the Rio Grande Valley, which borders Mexico. Thousands of “winter Texans” from across the U.S. and Canada travel south to “the Valley,” as it’s called, to escape the cold and dance to live music at the many large RV communities in the region, visit the Gulf of Mexico’s beaches, dine at the plethora of fine Mexican restaurants and other eateries in the area and, among other things, go bird-watching at the area’s pristine wildlife sanctuaries.

Well, as is the case with birds, pollinators such as bees and butterflies aren’t aware of borders. Indeed the “God-given” things these creatures do benefits all human beings.

Therefore, all people, regardless of their ethnic or national background, or their political views, have an interest in preserving pollinators. Our precious pollinators are the very cornerstone of farming and gardening on any scale. Combined with such precious resources as clean and ample supplies of groundwater, pollinators work in symbiosis with farmers and gardeners to feed the world.

As we all know, many of the butterflies inhabiting the endangered Butterfly Sanctuary migrate to Canada for the summer but when the time comes, they head south like another group of “winter Texans.”

So while the decision to threaten or destroy the Butterfly Sanctuary in the Mission area is based on the U.S. government’s concern that illegal migrants will affect the sustainability of a civilized country like the U.S., members of the growing Bee City movement and all other supporters of pollinators point out that pollinators are critically important to the sustainability of all of humankind, not just  the sustainability of any particular country. Therefore, what’s desperately needed is more information disseminated to the public about how pollinators contribute to the sustainability of all of humanity.

And with Bee City Canada and their Bee City brethren in the U.S. reading off the same page in their commitment to protecting pollinators—with bees and butterflies topping the list—Awakening News has taken the lead in calling attention to this issue. “To bee or not to bee, that is the question.”

We’d like to see a broad Canadian media blitz is to assist those in the U.S. who question the border wall’s construction near Mission, in order to determine the exact time frame and design of the project and whether the fencing in that area should be halted or significantly modified.

Meanwhile, Canadians and Americans may want to ask for a report card on the health of the pollinators which we share and the status of the environment/habitat in which they live. And we musn’t overlook chemical threats and various other factors that have caused a rapid decline in bee colonies, for example.

Awakening News was recently told by a CBC employee that the editors of CBC Radio have received our request for more publicity on this issue and will be in touch if they are interested in our initiative behind this story. If we do not receive a reply, we’re told that will confirm the CBC will not carry our story. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Anyone reading this article may want to pick up the phone and call the media outlet(s) of their choice. In so doing, you are helping Bee City Canada and, by extension, Bee City USA. If possible, please let us know which media outlet(s) you’ve contacted. Our emails are: LTE@awakeningnews.ca or rdevine0568@rogers.com

Editor’s note: M. Samuel Anderson, a consulting editor for Awakening News, is in Mission, Texas looking into this issue more closely.