The Sierra Club Borderlands Team hosted a Border Film Festival last week at Austin’s Violet Crown Theater. The team screened three short films which presented the environmental devastation caused by 650 miles of walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The turnout was so great that those who could not find a seat or a space on the theater floor waited for a second impromptu screening of the films. A great many of the participants were shocked to discover how much destruction the border wall has caused in their home state, and they visited the Borderlands Team table to find out what they could do.
You can watch one of the films shown at the festival, the Sierra Club-produced Wild vs. Wall, at http://www.sierraclub.org/borderlands/film.aspx
Following the film festival and team meetings in Austin, some members of the Borderlands Team traveled down to the Rio Grande Valley to tour the wildlife refuges and communities torn apart by border walls. There, in conjunction with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Group, they hosted presentations in Brownsville and San Juan, Texas. Audiences were riveted as Dan Millis, Sierra Club Borderlands Campaign Organizer from Tucson, Arizona, shared his experiences in the Arizona desert.
Dan told of border walls being built through sensitive habitat that is critical for endangered species, of animals being cut off by the walls, and of the catastrophic flooding border walls have caused. He also shared his experiences as a humanitarian aid volunteer leaving bottles of fresh water in the desert for desperate migrants who, because of walls and enforcement actions, are having to trek further into treacherous terrain than ever before.
The outreach of the Sierra Club Borderlands Campaign is critical, because bills moving through Congress further threaten the borderlands with the waiving of environmental laws on sensitive lands (HR 1505), and the possibility of hundreds of miles of new walls. The damage already done has been severe, and Sierrans need to push Congress to reverse it, not exacerbate it.
You can find out more about the work of the Sierra Club Borderlands Team at http://www.sierraclub.org/borderlands/