Climate-Fueled Flooding ‘Complicates Plausible Design’ for Trump’s Border Wall
The global phenomenon that Donald Trump loves to deny might soon have an undeniable impact on the border wall he purports to love, judging the by the “warming-fueled monster deluges” that “keep flooding our 1,254-mile Rio Grande border with Mexico,” Think Progress reports.
Trump keeps pushing the wall forward, despite continuing questions about who will cover the project’s astronomical price tag. (Memo to all former reality TV stars: It isn’t going to be Mexico.) But “fulfilling that already challenging promise will be a whole lot harder thanks to climate change,” writes Climate Progress founding editor Joe Romm.
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“The problem is that the vast majority of that border runs straight down the middle of 1,254 snaking miles of the Rio Grande River — and ever-worsening, climate change-fueled floods greatly complicate any plausible design.”
Romm points to the Texas floods of 2015, when “more than 35 trillion gallons of water deluged the state. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth tweeted that was enough ‘to cover the entire state nearly 8 inches deep,’” while Gov. Greg Abbott said he was declaring a state of emergency “literally from the Red River to the Rio Grande.”
An October 2015 study found that anthropogenic climate change had contributed to the crisis.
So “how do you design a wall that could withstand these ever-worsening superstorms — especially when your administration denies the science of human-caused climate change in the first place and has issued orders not to plan for it?” Romm asks. And “where exactly do you build a wall when floods along the Rio Grande can be so huge they can be seen from outer space?”
“We’ve been arguing that beautifying an inherently unjust structure simply naturalizes it and legitimates it and somehow cools down public guilt about fortifying it,” said University of California-San Diego political scientist Fonna Forman. “And what we’ve really been arguing for is a change in our public vision. We need new political leadership that understands that, in regions like this, sustainability requires cooperation and regional thinking, not artificially bifurcating the region through additional structures.”
“In the last years of economic boom, architecture simply became a tool to camouflage the injustices of social inequality through beautification. And so I think it’s not enough to think of this problem only architecturally,” said UCSD architect Teddy Cruz.
“To think of the border just architecturally is to really ignore the fact that border regions are made up of many other things: social, economic, environmental flows and relationships,” he added. “We understand the urgency of reimagining political borders as more than just barricades, but instead as hopefully smarter, more inclusive, ethical frameworks to elevate and support the cross-border dynamics that make these environments incredible zones of urban and political creativity.”