Thursday, September 25th, 2008 | Author: admin
As I write this, Hurricane Gustav is pummeling the Gulf Coast with high winds and rain, resulting in flooding and iminent disaster throughout the region. New Orleans is once again flooding, causing many to wonder why people continue to live in the city and move back after the storms.
Actually, no matter where you live on this green planet, you are in danger of being affected by a natural disaster. I live in wildfire-prone Southern California which has outgrown many of its natural resources including ground and rain water. Much of the area is prone to falling into the ocean with the next great earthquake. We are all affected by changing climate, smog, contaminated ground water, poorly-managed local and state governments which have failed to maintain our infrastructure and plan for population growth. There are also the threats of war and famine and genocide around the world. So is Louisiana different from the rest of the world which is also threatened by both potential natural and manmade disasters?
Not really. Manmade solutions to the natural flooding of the Mississippi River in the 1930s helped farmers along the river protect their properties at the expense of the natural wetlands in Louisiana which protected New Orleans for three centuries. Since the construction of levees, canals, and oil pipelines to control flooding along the river, the natural fresh water flooding of the wetlands ceased and the salt water from the Gulf has eroded the wetlands, the natural barrier to storms like Katrina and Gustav.
The answer to the problem of saving New Orleans, a valuable treasure of United States history and culture, lies in protecting those wetlands from further erosion. If New Orleans is too far away from you to worry about, remember that a natural or manmade disaster of some kind will eventually visit a city near you.
Perspectives on the Louisiana Wetlands (YouTube videos):
Blood and Oil
Loss of Louisiana Wetlands
America’s Wetlands and You
Quote: “The art of living is always to make a good thing out of a bad thing.” — Economist E.F. Schumaker