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This one is for my friends and readers who don’t live here in South Louisiana.

Do me a favor. Please.

First, when you’ve got a few minutes to spare, take a look at this interactive multimedia presentation. It requires Flash and you’ll want to have your speakers turned on.

(For extra credit, you can read the three part series from the Times-Picayune.)

Then, please share that link with others.

See, it’s like this. We’ve known for a while that coastal Louisiana is disappearing at an alarming rate. But scientists are now saying we’ve got much less time than we thought. They’re saying ten years or less before the land loss becomes irreversible. We’re now losing the equivalent of a football field every 45 minutes. In short order, we will have an ecological disaster of epic proportions, not just for those who live here, but for America as a whole. As the paper says:

The entire nation would reel from the losses. The state’s coastal wetlands, the largest in the continental United States, nourish huge industries that serve all Americans, not just residents of southeastern Louisiana. Twenty-seven percent of America’s oil and 30 percent of its gas travels through the state’s coast, serving half of the nation’s refinery capacity, an infrastructure that few other states would welcome and that would take years to relocate. Ports along the Mississippi River, including the giant Port of New Orleans and the Port of South Louisiana in LaPlace, handle 56 percent of the nation’s grain shipments. And the estuaries now rapidly turning to open water produce half of the nation’s wild shrimp crop and about a third of its oysters and blue claw crabs. Studies show destruction of the wetlands protecting the infrastructure serving those industries would put $103 billion in assets at risk.

The fix is mind-bogglingly expensive. Of course it is peanuts compared to what we are spending in Iraq, but the obstacles to spending this money here are enormous. We need to come together as a nation to do this. And that’s why I’m asking you to check out the above links, and share them with others. We need to get evangelical about this.

Published inEcology


  1. lemming lemming

    Haven’t you heard? This is all natural, irreversible and Al Gore only makes it worse by using a private jet.

  2. It was a great series of articles and the interactive explanation of the coast’s history was incredible. Can anything be more important than this?

  3. Garvey Garvey

    It’s precisely the snark displayed by lemming that will ensure the failure of this effort. Think “big tent” on this, which is the point: this is for everybody. A successful movement in a contemporary, sophisticated, and established republic relies on many things–just factual and moral truth cannot stand alone, without regards to the messenger. “The medium is the message.” Read up on how and why Rosa Parks was chosen to be the public face of the Civil Rights Movement. Same thing about “An Inconvenient Truth.” Al Gore was a narrator, a face. He didn’t write or produce any of it, but he provided some celebrity and heft. And snark away, but his “carbon footprint” is horrendous and hurts his credibility. Even so, there’s a reason why the producers chose him: it’s better to have a guy in suit and tie than some longhair straight outta Burning Man. Big tent.

  4. The comments regarding Al Gore make me want to point out: This is not a global warming issue, or at least not strictly. Yes, rising sea levels are an added threat, a huge problem, but coastal loss is happening for many reasons. The primary culprits seem to be levees on the river and canals through the wetlands.

  5. I just found your blog via a link at A.D. at Smith Mag. I grew up in Coastal LA, my old neighborhood will be underwater soon and has already been reduced to third world country like status, so this issue is near and dear to my heart. What alarms me is the lack of immediacy that people feel in Louisana. Its like people are walking around with blinders on. I think Bayou Farewell by Mike Tidwell should be required reading for EVERYONE in LA. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but here’s the link anyways

  6. It is a mystery until you put it into the context of the GOP’s grand plan. Let the levees break, or blow ’em up if you want to go all the way, make sure the place drowns but good to make sure everyone leaves town by doing nothing and allow the carpetbaggers to rebuild NO in its former image on the high ground. Ladies and Gentlemen! Presenting…The Disney Corporation’s N’Orleans™!

    Now deem the Third Ward et al as forever useless and prove it by allowing the sea to reclaim them before screeching Oh No! Another disaster! Whatever shall we do? Move the oil infrastructure somewhere else! Where? I dunno, Galvaston? I mean, it is in Texas! And whose gonna build it? Hallibuton!

    This is a win/win/win. A blue state gets rubbed out and/or converted to red, Disney gets a new theme park in the deep south and Halliburton get to, well, be Halliburton! And government’s got to do is nothing, ’cause it’s all mother nature’s fault! Three cheers for the red, white and blue!



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