Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Losing a Country—Inch by Inch

Faced with more and more high falluting Essays on the Climate Crisis, it’s a relief to read about how Louisiana is simply losing its soil inch by inch! Climate Change and Oil Extraction account for the daily loss of 33 football fields! Listen to the testimony of one Louisiana speckled trout fisherman named James Wilson from Lafitte. "The one little area that I fished today will be gone next week because of the wave action. There’s no barrier anymore.” 

Beau Weber, Jr adds: "An island that was 100 feet long two days ago is tiny little.” Climate change is not a debating here on the Louisiana shoes! Two basic businesses, fishing and oil extraction, are at loggerheads. The state’s wetland are being swallowed by the Gulf of Mexico at such a pace that they could lease another 500,000 acres in the next fifty years! 

It’s the result of a combination of factors—sea levels have risen about six inches in the last 100 years. And the land has been subsiding, partly from its own weight but also because of oil and gas being sucked up from below.And then there are the levees along the Mississippi—which help cities like New Orleans from flooding,but they also stop millions of tonnes of sediment from replenishing the land.

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has just proposed dozens of projects to “heal” this abused land. Part of the financing will accrue from the 2010 BP oil spill. The $50 billion project will try to divert rivers so as to channel to build up barriers. Alas one solution can lead to another loss: fishermen have already sued for the destruction of their oyster beds! Indeed, controversy complicates the climate change arguments! The oil industry built levees and canals in the 1950’s to facilitate their extractions.

Alas, Democrats and Republicans alike avoid taking on the oil industry which supplies electoral cash for both sides! Barry Keim, the state’s climatologist has the last word: "In another 50 or 100 years, the mental map that we have of Louisiana will have to be redrawn because what is now land will soon be open water.” (Anna Fifield, Financial Times, 6/19/13, p.6.)

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, there’s climate change speculations about tornadoes and what to do with them. Global “Time” readers had suggestions: Athanasias Hatzilakos, from Athens”Early warning,advanced weather watching technologies, or more safe rooms might have helped the people of Moore, Okla. But would have done little for their properties.For us Europeans who use concrete and bricks in construction, we find images of whole neighborhood destroyed by the passing of a tornado completely unreal and even surreal. With such arbitrary loss of human life and the cost of damages in the billions, maybe it’s time for a change in the use of building materials.” (June 24,2013, p.4.)

And Norb Schicker, of Crans, Switzerland (ibid.) adds his two bits worth: "Once again, readers around the world are shocked at the loss of life as a result of tornados in the U.S., especially in Tornado Alley, where disaster is expected to hit again. At the same time, there is great disbelief that there are no laws requiring every housae in such exposed areas to have storm cellars that could be cheap, mass produced reinforced concrete cells, either in the basement or above, securely anchored.”

Heh, there’s only one globe with many divergent parts, all needing our loving attention. And as for those congress persons who won’t legislate humanely, off to one of those disintegrating islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Until they start thinking instead of slinking. Think globally!

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