Monument Lab

Bearing Witness in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands with Conservationist Laiken Jordahl

Episode Summary

This episode, we speak to Laiken Jordahl, during the time of self-isolation and quarantine for COVID-19, about the accelerated pace of construction of the border wall. He shares the devastating impacts on the land and residents of the region, the ecological outcomes on endangered species and water systems, and the importance of bearing witness in the borderlands.

Episode Notes

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a staggering number of businesses and much of our public life are paused across the country in the interest of health and safety. There is one place where activity has amped up since the shutdowns – construction sites along the U.S. Mexico border. Our guest is conservationist Laiken Jordahl, who works as a campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity near Arizona’s Organ Pipe National Monument. He documents the heightened activity of border wall construction on National Park land, which sits next to the Tohono O'odham tribal nation reservation and encompasses a UNESCO bioreserve.

Jordahl posts on-the-ground reports and footage to his Twitter feed. He shares evidence of the Trump Administration’s disregard for federal Environmental Protections and the desecration of Native American heritage sites. He notes the Administration attempts to complete broad sections of the wall ahead of the election – and in the middle of the pandemic.

As Jordahl shares, “This crisis has brought the world to its knees in a way that nothing else could. It's changed everything about our day to day lives and that's why it's so mystifying and enraging that border wall construction is continuing, and it's actually accelerating across Arizona. There are hundreds of construction workers here in our state right now that are building new miles of wall.” 

This episode, we speak to Jordahl, during the time of self-isolation and quarantine for COVID-19, about the accelerated pace of construction of the border wall. He shares the devastating impacts on the land and residents of the region, the ecological outcomes on endangered species and water systems, and the importance of bearing witness in the borderlands.