The Organ Pipe National Monument, which contains indigenous burial sites and historically important areas, is under threat from Trump’s border wall.
Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the monument has long been a conservatory of sensitive wildlife habitats and plant-based ecosystems. Environmental laws were put in place after its establishment in 1937 to ensure its continued survival and success, and since then, it has been a staple of sustainability for the Southwest.
The current administration has decided to disrupt that sentiment by putting policies in place that directly interfere with it, undermining the significance of protected areas all across the U.S. in the process. Multiple safeguards had previously been instituted to ensure that the Organ Pipe National Monument would exist apart from destructive human influence, though in retrospect it is evident that those safeguards were more symbolic than proponents may have realized.
This circumstance is indicative of an overall failure of “naturalist measures”-measures, whether legal or rhetorical, concerned with protecting the natural world. It is clear that a greater force is necessary to save the environment from human expansion and capitalism. Ideally, the force would be swift yet deliberate, infallible and all-encompassing.
No, I am not talking about divine providence. Rather, I bring tidings of a new kind of providence, one that functions as a sort of leech on the mind, replacing that which is humanist with that which is opposed to consumption. What I speak of is called naturalism.
Naturalism is a philosophy that can be juxtaposed with solipsism, in which the only real thing is that which exists in the mind. Naturalism, on the other hand, believes in the natural world as the sole source of reality.
It is a common psychoanalytic understanding that a sense of reality is of great significance to the human individual. Without it, they can not hope to exist at all. Instead, they would be resigned to a liminal state; neither here nor there, nor really belonging anywhere. Thus, the human individual protects their sense of reality at all costs, recognizing that its absence would result in a living incubus impossible to escape from.
With that said, the human individual goes further than mere protection of their reality. They will often attempt to enhance it as well, going so far as to base their entire life on that one goal. It makes sense considering that their reality is, essentially, the only thing that they know to be true. Why not try to make it better?
This aspect of human nature has the unbridled potential to completely change humankind’s relationship with the environment. If the fundamentals of naturalism were to be instilled in each person-so that their reality became attuned to it-people would start to conduct themselves as if the natural world actually mattered.
Many people today have a distorted sense of reality (centered around money, drugs, sex, etc.), which makes the switch to naturalistic ideals that much more crucial. The hope is that, by doing so, we can rid the natural world of borders and harbor in a new era of sustainability, values, and change. Valuable, eco-friendly places such as the Organ Pipe National Monument are the areas that would directly stand to benefit.
The failure of Trump’s Border Wall to respect the monument is just one component of a flawed mindset that places political gain above the natural world. Only by embracing a mindset of conservation through limitation can we curb the disease that afflicts the environment: humanity.