Story map combines photos, scientific data to highlight perilous reality of the region
Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 14, 2017. With the Trump administration gearing up to expand border wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border, it is more important than ever to gain a clearer picture of the land and people of this region, and the enduring environmental and human costs of a border policy focused on walls.
For more than a decade, photojournalist Krista Schlyer, a senior fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), has documented the natural and cultural richness of the U.S.-Mexico border. Collaborating with researchers, filmmakers, photographers and conservation organizations, she has gathered photography, videos, audio, and previously unpublished map data to paint a vivid portrait of the borderlands region, and the threats posed by border wall expansion.
“My hope is that this interactive story provides access to a ‘first-hand’ experience of the borderlands, and a greater understanding of just what’s at stake,” Schlyer said. “Even if we disregard the fiscal irresponsibility of spending billions of dollars on a border wall, the greatest costs will endure for centuries and cannot be measured in dollars.”
Using ESRI’s location-based storytelling technology, the “Embattled Borderlands” story map takes viewers on a west-to-east multimedia tour of the border, highlighting its delicate ecosystems, varied wildlife, and human diversity. The project employs ESRI’s powerful cartography resources with a decade of photographic documentation and scientific data that has been gathered concerning the impact of border walls and militarization on wildlife, ecosystems and people.
Many of the photographs depicting borderlands wildlife, lands and people were shot by members of the International League of Conservation Photographers during a 2009 expedition led by Schlyer.
Others imagery was captured by scientific cameras documenting the movements of jaguars, ocelots, bears and many other imperiled species that regularly traverse the border looking for essential resources.
“This story map offers astute insight into the borderlands, its people, and wildlife—as well as the damages already faced by communities living with sections of the wall already built. Further walls will only compound these threats,” said Dan Millis of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter Borderlands Program.
The project has been a collaborative effort between a broad array of organizations, including the Sierra Club, Wildlands Network and Humane Borders–a coalition of scientists and advocates giving voice to the high cost of walls to wildlife, public lands, the regional economy and vulnerable human populations.
Embattled Borderlands can be viewed at http://arcg.is/2npkDGJ.
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