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I know this might not be something having to do with Democratic politics, but living down here in New Orleans while I'm in law school, it's a vitally important moral issue to me, and to our country.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has three part story on the shrinking wetlands in Southeast Louisiana the last few days, and I've got to say it's pretty scary. These are just some of the scariest facts to be gleaned from the articles.

A) Louisiana is losing about a football field worth of wetlands every half hour

B) in about 10 yrs. the water level will rise between 4 and 20 feet

C) by 2020, the water might be too close to New Orleans and could make it very dangerous to live there

These are some links to the Times-Picayune Articles:

  1. This is the link to the newspaper articles:

From the March 4th article written by Bob Marshall, entitled Last Chance- The fight to save a disappearing coast:

In 10 years, at current land-loss rates:

Gulf waves that once ended on barrier island beaches far from the city could be crashing on levees behind suburban lawns.

The state will be forced to begin abandoning outlying communities such as Lafitte, Golden Meadow, Cocodrie, Montegut, Leeville, Grand Isle and Port Fourchon.

The infrastructure serving a vital portion of the nation�s domestic energy production will be exposed to the encroaching Gulf.

Many levees built to withstand a few hours of storm surge will be standing in water 24 hours a day and facing the monster surges that come with tropical storms.

Hurricanes approaching from the south will treat the city like beachfront property, crushing it with forces like those experienced by the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Katrina.

From today's article, written by Bob Marshall and Mark Schleifstein entitled, Losing Ground:

Experts now say Louisiana has only about a decade left to change that equation or the Gulf could be lapping at New Orleans' suburbs.

"I hate to use the word 'failure,' " said Mark Schexnayder, who has been involved in coastal restoration for 20 years, lately as a regional coastal adviser with Louisiana State University's Sea Grant College Program. "But . . . obviously, we're losing the war."

  1. This is a graphics presentation about the loss of the wetlands:

It's not just about wetlands in Southeast Louisiana.  It's not just An Inconvenient Truth.  It's things like global warming in  the Arctic Circle.  Recently Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, said that issues such as global warming and climate change are human rights issues.

I couldn't agree more.  I'm only 24, but I know that these issues will be one of the most important things my generation will have to deal with.  As human beings, regardless of our political or ideological beliefs, protecting our environment is one of our most important things we can do.  It's not just important here in New Orleans, but it's important everywhere.

By working to bring this issue to the forefront for our friends and loved ones, our neighbors, our co-workers, we can make a difference, but we must act quickly and we must act decisively.  We have to make combating climate change a priority, not just because our livelihoods depend on it, but becuase our children and our grandchildren will depend on the actions we take now.  

Use energy efficient appliances, recycle, write letters to your Congressional members, your state legislators, write letters to the editor, simply talk to people about the issue.  I believe the most important thing we can do is get people to understand that this is a problem that affects us all, and we all have to work together to solve it.

I also found some organizations that might be worth the time to look into:

  1. Earthjustice: a non-profit legal group dedicated to environmental justice.

  1. The Apollo Alliance: a group working towards alternative energy sources.

  1. The Natural Resources Defense Council: one of the preeminent organizations in the country dedicated to protecting our natural resources.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I'll leave you with a quote from the great author Victor Hugo: "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."

Originally posted to Crazycab214 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 01:25 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Loss of these tidal areas due to Mississippi (7+ / 0-)

    River diversions and damming was cited as the main reason why the Katrina storm surge was so devastating.

    The wetlands and the shallow deposits from the sedimentation that would normally buffer the surge have been depleted by the flood control activities of the Army Corps of Engineers.

    This was done to make the area around the Mississippi delta more navigable but left the New Orleans geography much more vulnerable to surges like those of the Katrina storm.

    •  True, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonscribe, pattyp, Nightprowlkitty

      a bit of a catch-22, since lack of damming and levee-building leaves most of the state of Louisiana uninhabitable.  For what used to be our busiest port and is still the dominant area for oil refining and imports, that's not really an option either.  There has to be some kind of compromise: controlled flooding of uninhabited areas, etc.  There was a good rescued diary last night that discussed possibilities.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 01:47:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Au contraire: (6+ / 0-)

    this has a lot to do with Democratic politics.  

    Some quick suggestions, if you're open to them: readers may be skimming past this diary, which is unfortunate.  Try pulling a couple of extracts from the links so that their appetite will be whetted enough to read the rest of the articles.  The subject matter is important enough that they should be already, but with a thousand diaries scrolling down the list, oftentimes people will skip past diaries that don't have those kinds of quick attention-grabbers.  

    A question: what do you think readers of dkos could contribute?  Being informed is important, so diaries like this are a key first step, but what kind of reaction/involvement would you like to get from your readers?  What can we do to make this the kind of foregrounded issue it should be?  What can we do to help enact change.

    Just some things to think about that may score you a larger readership.  Thanks for this diary.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 01:39:25 PM PST

  •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is a very important and disturbing story. It has to do with protecting Americans, which is very much Democratic politics. (Or should be.)

    What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. - Albert Pine

    by pattyp on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 02:43:05 PM PST

  •  It starts further upstream....................... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    From the Alton locks just to the north of St. Louis all the way down to the Gulf the Corps of Engineers has turned a once slow, shallow and meandering river into a sraight, fast moving, deep drainage ditch.  It is blowing out the delta. The river and everything that that it gives life to is being bled-out.  I do not know if anyone remembers the flood of 1993?  When the river breached ALl THE LEVEES and spread out over what is its natural flood plain.  It was a so called "500 year" flood.  It is not a question of if but when.

  •  Thanks to everyone who read this!!! (7+ / 0-)

    I actually wrote the initial draft of this while sitting in my Property law class so it was a little rough.  I hope the extra things I've put in make it a little better diary.  But mainly just thanks for reading it.  

  •  Help by not buying Cypress mulch, most of which (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emmasnacker, FoundingFatherDAR, chigh

    comes from Louisiana.  Waterkeepers Alliance has a campaign on this.  Pine bark mulch, a by-product of the pine industry, is a much better choice. Sorry I don't have a link handy, but you can search and find the info about why the harvesting of cypress trees is hurting the ecosystem.  spread the word.

    Lookin' for a leader

    by extradish on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 03:07:58 PM PST

  •  Frankly? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonscribe, Nightprowlkitty, chigh

    Humans have screwed with the environment enough down here.  According to the T-P article, NO and the Gulf Coast region only has about 10 more years.  The most timely and money efficient thing to do is to let the Mississippi flood, like it's intended to do so that it can naturally continue to build up silt deposits (land) in the area.

    Ray Nagin is too much of an idiot to go ahead and tell people they shouldn't try to rebuild in the areas that are ruined.  Relocate to another area in the NO region - OK.  But those areas that naturally flood, need to be allowed to do it again.  Now Nagin's allowed people, good people to go ahead and rebuild on land that is destined to be uninhabitable in 10 years if they continue to rebuild on it.

  •  Protection of wetlands has been a struggle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    here in CA for years, but in many cases it does not have the dire consequences related to protecting part or all of a city.  CA doesn't get hit with hurricanes, though we do have storms that cause some increase in tidal destruction of the shore.
     We environmentalists have a hard time fighting the big money real estate developers and others who won't see the big picture benefits of the wetlands.  Developers and some politicians make it sound like we're just trying to save a few measley birds or frogs.  
     I'm reminded of John Grisham's The Pelican Brief.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 04:45:09 PM PST

  •  Don't apologise! (0+ / 0-)

    The only point of electing Democrats is to get commonsense and compassion back into government. So many of us here diary on the real weighty issues, like you.
    The elections are the consequences of these concerns; not the main menu.

    By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with...

    by dotcommodity on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 05:58:26 PM PST

  •  Here's a link (0+ / 0-)

    To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

    by commonscribe on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:54:34 PM PST

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