The Dernogalizer

August 28, 2008

And After K Comes G

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 1:04 am
Tags: , , ,


On the 3 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Gustav is on it’s way. So I think it’s important to ask right now, whether or not New Orleans and Louisiana are in any better shape than they were three years ago. And no I don’t mean whether or not they’ve rebuilt their economy or their schools or whether or not their football team is winning again.

What I mean is, if a Hurricane like Katrina hit New Orleans again tomorrow, would we get an encore? Would New Orleans be underwater with bodies floating in the streets? I think so. A few things have changed, for one thing you can Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is on top of preparations to make sure that his administration handles the evacuation and aid properly. You can bet FEMA is more on top of this than it was the last time. So our reaction will probably be better. The levees better not break.

However, this was only part of the problem. There are some realities that we’re going to have to deal with, or all we’re doing when we’re pushing people back into New Orleans is putting them in another bullseye. The main reason New Orleans was so vulnerable in 2005 is because of the destruction and development of it’s coastal marshes, which would have served as buffers and limited how far inland the water would’ve gotten. Warmer ocean temperatures and rising sea levels mean that the ocean reached further inward. It was like having a runway of water to New Orleans for the Hurricane to land on. On top of this, Louisiana itself has been sinking under the weight of the Mississippi River mud for years. This is part of the reason why the marches disappeared, they were dragged under. There was supposed to be a massive overhaul of wetland restoration to solve part of this problem in 2003. It never happened, the project wasn’t important enough for the Federal Government to fund it. We didn’t learn our lesson when Katrina hit. The issue still hasn’t been solved, and this is very alarming with Gustav on the way.

So now we have sea levels rising, warmer oceans which have been linked to stronger hurricanes, and a sinking state. I really hope Gustav isn’t as bad as Katrina, but the fact of the matter is that our government and politicians still haven’t learned the main lesson. You can make your reaction and response as strong as you want. If you don’t address the roots of the problems, then history will be doomed to repeat itself. And from where I’m sitting, far too soon.


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