Eco-disaster looms Lousiana
The Louisiana wetlands are vanishing. They used to be replenished by the flooding of the Mississippi. But, when they built the levees on the Mississippi, the flooding stopped. That meant all the soil and accumulated goo that used to build the wetlands no longer does
Guiding this inspection is biologist Bill Good who works with the state’s department of natural resources. He says every couple of years, Louisiana loses a chunk of land that is bigger than Manhattan.
“And,” Good notes, “if a foreign country came in and took that much of our real estate every year, that would be grounds for war.”
Among other things, wetlands protect New Orleans from hurricanes. Less wetlands means less protection from hurricanes, higher prices for the seafood that (used to) live in them, and probable higher prices for gas.
It also means land is sinking or being reclaimed by the ocean or rivers – land where people live and have businesses.
Enter a banker turned enviro
Milling <the banker> says, here’s what hit him: Banks like his have invested billions of dollars in businesses across the region. He points to the dots sprinkled across the map. He says you’ll find a Whitney National Bank in the heart of every one of those towns.
“You know this whole area is composed of ship-building yards, fabrication yards, gas-processing plants, chemical installations. “Those towns that are located up and down the various bayous and rivers form the cornerstone of wealth in south Louisiana.”
And on this map, those towns are surrounded by splotches of red and pinkâ€” which signifies that the wetlands around them are vanishing. Milling says the more he looked at the map, the more he realized that if the wetlands wash away, his bank’s investments could wash away. The state’s whole economy could be crippled.
“It has everything to do with whether or not Louisiana as we know it will survive in the future.”