One-fourth of Louisiana’s coastline has already disappeared since just the 1930s. Every hour, Louisiana loses about a football field of land to the sea. And the oil and gas companies that are responsible for the sinking away of the state, aren’t doing anything about it.
The line between land and sea is faint in towns that rest along Louisiana’s coastlines, sometimes sitting only 3 feet above sea level. The residents here are extremely aware of the vulnerability of their home to climate change, and the connection that the oil and gas industry has to the literal falling of their homes. Dredging to dig canals by these companies has eradicated the marshland barriers that once protected the coastal towns. And rising seas caused by the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is catching up with the towns, too.
Environmental journalist Bob Marshall sums it up: “So what’s happened is that you have a delta that’s been totally destroyed. And so, it’s sinking. And as it’s sinking, the seas are rising.” Not a good combination.
But there is a plan in action – well, kind of. It’s called the Coastal Master Plan and though it’s short a large percentage of the over $90 billion necessary to restore the bayous, environmental justice advocates are working directly with the impacted communities to raise awareness – in the hopes that the oil and gas companies will take notice…and action.