My home is within 15 miles of the U.S./Mexico border, where I am helping co-host a borderlands justice field course called “ecotones of the spirit” this week. It has been engaging Fred Bahnson’s students from Wake Forest University, Alison Deming and Paco Cantu’s University of Arizona Haury Program fellows, a couple of David Seibert & Ron Pulliam’s Borderlands Research Leadership Institute fellows, & for an afternoon, Aaron Lien’s Conservation Ranching students from University of Arizona CALS.
We are hiking migratory corridors for birds & refugees, visiting the Borderlands Food Bank & Kino Border Initiative, landfills & deportation court hearings, No More Deaths & San Xavier Co-op Farm, gleaning fruits with Iskashitaa Refugee Network & planting agaves on hillside terraces to slow erosion.
What we are realizing is that borders are creative tension zones with both opportunities & risks to those who live in them or intentionally cross them. Eight days on the border in the field are changing our perceptions of what this delicious but problematic landscape is all about.
If every politician who pontificates about the border from a distance actually spent eight days with us in the field, they would be forever changed… perhaps every North American needs to do so.