Collaborative Conservation

Order of Ecumenical Franciscans for the House Committee on Appropriations and its Subcommittee on Homeland Security

March 23, 2020

RE:  Written Testimony for FY 2021 Appropriations

VIA email at MC.Approp.@mail.house.gov

 

Dear Chairwoman Shultz, Ranking Member Carter and Members of the Committee:

 

I am writing to ask that you rescind all Department of Defense and Treasury funds for building more of the border wall.

 

My name is Gary Paul Nabhan and I am an Ecumenical Franciscan Brother who has lived and worked on the U.S./Mexico border as a seasonal park ranger, farmer, conservational biologist and facilitator ...

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Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands & Communities – Dr. Gary Nabhan

Streaming live from the Barrows Lecture Series at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 7:00-9:00 PM (ET)

Gary Nabhan is an ethnobiologist, nature writer, and world expert on the people, plants and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert. A recipient of a MacArthur “genius award,” Nabhan was honored by Utne Reader in 2011 as one of several visionaries whose work is making the world a better place in which to live. In his career Gary has served as ...

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Indigenous group reaffirms importance of Quitobaquito Springs amid border wall construction

“We who live near the border are blessed the Hia c-ed O’odham and Tohono O’odham have never abrogated or surrendered their rights to practice their spiritual traditions at sacred sites in the Sonoran Desert on or near the international boundary that cut their homeland in half. We pray that the groundwater pumping to build the border wall will not further dry up the freshwater springs and sacred and medicinal plants that O’odham elders speak of in this new radio program ...
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Bulldozers Versus Biodiversity, Then and Now

Trump’s border wall threatens habitats in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. What happened when the area was bulldozed in the 1950s?

 

The bulldozing of rare cacti and other species at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona for the Trump border wall has caused much controversy. But as it happens, this isn’t the first time bulldozers have altered this site.

Established as a National Monument under the authority of the National Parks Service in 1937, Organ Pipe is made up of 517 ...

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At the Mexican Border, the Battle for Endangered Species is as Much About Water as About The Wall

When 340 protesters from many cultures showed up at Organ Pipe Cactus Monument on the Arizona-Mexico border this past November to express their heartbreak over the damage done by construction of a wall, law enforcement officers appeared to be baffled by their concerns. Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers and Homeland Security were surprised that all of the signs and chants were not targeted at the wall itself.

Sure, some of the youth present were in animal costumes to demonstrate ...

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Modelled distributions and conservation status of the wild relatives of chile peppers

Crop wild relatives—the wild progenitors and closely related species to cultivated plants—have provided many important agronomic and nutritional traits for crop improvement (Dempewolf et al., 2017; Hajjar & Hodgkin, 2007). As populations of some of these taxa are adapted to extreme climates, adverse soil types, and important pests and diseases, they may provide key traits for the adaptation of crop plants to emerging and projected future challenges (Dempewolf ...

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People came together to grieve the construction of an unneeded border wall.

At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument today, 320 people of different nations, races, cultures and faiths peacefully came together to grieve the new construction of an unneeded border wall. Its construction activities are already cutting off access to water for the survival of people and wildlife, are violating native and other place-based spiritual practices, and are destroying ancient cactus and ironwood forests.

At Qutobaquito springs along the border–once the most biodiverse oasis in the entire Sonoran Desert– the cumulative destruction of ...

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Gary Paul Nabhan, recently interviewed by a clod of dirt

Dirt: So you occasionally write about us?

Gary: Well yes, on occasion. Why?

Dirt: What do you think entitles you to pry into our lives?

Gary: I’m not prying, exactly…I’m sort of crumbling you between my hands.

Dirt: While you are writing, you crumble us between your hands. Gads!

Gary: Only metaphorically so… teasing you apart, then rolling you back into a ball, so to speak.

Dirt: I just hate to be teased.  What gives you the license to write about us?

Gary: Well, I sort of ...

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Trans Situ Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives

In the face of unprecedented climatic disasters, social conflict, and political uncertainty, integrating in situ and ex situ strategies may become increasingly necessary to effectively conserve crop wild relatives (CWR). We introduce the concept of trans situ conservation to safeguard CWR genetic diversity and accessibility for crop improvement. Building on initiatives to combine in situ protection with ex situ backup in genebanks, trans situ conservation dynamically integrates multiple in situ and ex situ measures, from conservation to research to education, ...

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Trump’s Border Wall: Epitaph for an Endangered, Night-blooming Cactus?

Construction is underway on a 30-foot-high steel wall along Arizona’s southern border in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. As several reports have recently warned, the wall will hurt many endangered desert species, from Sonoran pronghorns to cactus ferruginous pygmy owls. To understand how the wall will further fragment habitats for these already-declining plants and animals, let’s go deep with one rare species that’s at grave risk: a cactus called the night-blooming cereus.

Sacamatraca, a beautiful and rare ...

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Ancient watering hole in Southern Arizona at risk from border wall construction

An ancient spring near Lukeville has slaked the thirst of desert travelers for centuries, but its days may be numbered as groundwater is pumped to build a 30-foot border wall.

Water has bubbled out of the granite at Quitobaquito Springs for thousands of years, making it a key watering hole for the Tohono O’odham, Spanish missionaries, U.S. and Mexican boundary surveyors, and countless other humans and animals.

The Trump administration decided to build a wall along 44 miles of the border in ...

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Agrivoltaics proves mutually beneficial across food, water, energy nexus

Building resilience in renewable energy and food production is a fundamental challenge in today’s changing world, especially in regions susceptible to heat and drought. Agrivoltaics, the co-locating of agriculture and solar photovoltaic panels, offers a possible solution, with new University of Arizona-led research reporting positive impacts on food production, water savings and the efficiency of electricity production.

Agrivoltaics, also known as solar sharing, is an idea that has been gaining traction in recent years; however, few studies have monitored all aspects ...

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The Healthiest Thing You Can Do Today? Get Dirty!

Americans now spend a stunning 90 percent of their time indoors. Our sedentary, screen-addicted lifestyles have been blamed for a range of ills — including obesity, attention problems, allergies and more.

We know that getting out of the house and into nature confers many benefits for physical and mental health. But there’s an additional benefit you might not know about: contact with the soil — good old dirt — enriches the gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms ...

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The Canary Islands Connection

I’m surrounded by date palms. Around them run dry watercourses that look like ones I find not far from my home in Tucson, Arizona. The traditional architecture in town would not be out of place in Tucson, either—or almost anywhere from southern Spain to Mexico and up into the southwest us. The fruit trees and grapevines hark back even further, to traditions of my ancestors from Syria and Lebanon. Perhaps this is what a visit to the ...

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Bearing Witness: Voices Of Climate Change Part VI: Climate Refugees

This week, we’re airing a series of interviews called Bearing Witness: Voices of Climate Change. They’re stories told by longtime Arizonans about changes they’ve seen in the familiar landscapes of their lives. While personal experience, in and of itself, is not scientific conclusion, many researchers believe long-term observation is a critical component to understanding how climate change affects humanity and the planet. Today’s interview is with teacher, author and ecologist, Gary Nabhan.

He is the founding director of Northern Arizona University’s Center for ...

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Mesquite Manifesto (second edition)

The recent acrimonious debates about further fortifying barriers all across the 2000 mile US/Mexico boundary line beg larger questions: Just what might make communities more stable, secure and prosperous, while providing more livelihoods as well as wildlife habitat on both sides of the border? What particular natural resources and cultural assets in the region can be utilized to offer better long-term solutions to problems perceived to be border-related?

Within the United States, southern border counties have twice the level of poverty ...

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Guest opinion: Heritage area can unite us

Arizonans were caught off guard when they heard that the Santa Cruz National Heritage Area had recently been designated by Congress and signed into law at the White House on March 12, 2019.

Suddenly, we found ourselves living in a 3,300-square-mile landscape that was nationally recognized for its distinctive natural and multi-cultural heritage.

Hadn’t a decade passed since all the communities in the upper Santa Cruz watershed pledged their support for such a designation?

By the time Tucson became the first “City of ...

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How the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area Can Bring Us Together to Envision a Common Future

Were you among the many citizens of southern Arizona who were caught off guard upon hearing that a designation for the Santa Cruz National Heritage Area sailed through Congress in late February and was signed into law at the White House on March 12, 2019?

Were you surprised to find yourself living in a 3300 square mile landscape that was nationally-recognized for its distinctive natural, historical and multi-cultural heritage?

Hadn’t it been over a decade since most non-profits as well as all ...

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The spice trade: Selling the scents of luxury

The trade in spices goes back to ancient times: from the Frankincense trails that originated in the Dhofar Highlands in present day Yemen to the Queen of Sheba who travelled to Jerusalem with camels laden with spices. For centuries, spices have captured our imagination far more than any other commodities, and spice traders, from the Arab merchants to the European trading companies of the Age of Discovery, capitalized on the mystique of these luxurious aromatics to create a value chain ...

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Long-desired heritage area designation signed into law

A sweeping public lands bill signed into law by President Trump this week includes the designation of a Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in Santa Cruz and Pima counties, bringing to fruition an effort begun well more than a decade ago to boost cultural preservation, economic development and tourism in the area.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Tucson), who represents all of Santa Cruz and parts of Pima county, had sought legislative approval for the NHA designation since 2007. In a ...

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