Let's not forget the alligators. Alligators are part of a great ecosystem and they live in swamps. Why are swamps valuable? Well, the August issue of Time had an eye opening article about the situation in New Orleans.
You are probably thinking, jees, when will she get off that! Well, I do have a tendency to ride a horse too long, but it is not just New Orleans - our whole country is showing that it is probably unprepared for disaster. Either before the disaster or during or after the disaster. And, as we have seen - disasters happen! More and worse are predicted.
Sometimes disasters are our own fault for ignoring our partnership with nature and the earth. (Or, what is happening in the world politically - i.e., terrorists!) No, I'm not a wacko leftist environmentalist - uh, maybe I am, but we are at the point we can no longer ignore our misuse/abuse of the planet we live on. Or the self-serving greed of politicians who are in office only to serve themselves and to get richer than they already are.
The known or publicized death toll in New Orleans was 1,800. The search is still on for bodies.
Here are some of the highlights from the Time cover article:
The writer recommended demanding of the candidates the answer to a question: How do you plan to protect New Orleans and how about the whole country's emergency management program?
He went on to state that the Army Corps is poised to repeat its mistakes. The drowning of New Orleans as made made, created by lousy engineering, displaced priorities and pork barrel politics.
Fact: Marshes, cypress swamps and barrier reefs are disappearing at the rate of a football field per hour. The "Corp" - or shall we call it the "Corpse maker?" was responsible for some pretty shoddy engineering. Early New Orleans was not on the coast but the Corp forbade communities to let the natural process of the river's deposits of silt to be deposited where Mother Nature would deposit the silt, making a delta which would absorb much of a hurricane striking the coast. Global warning is causing the gulf to rise causing 30% of the coast to slip into the Gulf.
No swamp, no gators. No swamp, more severe hurricanes in populated areas. Land de-intensifies the 'cane. So, that's Florida you say. How about New York? Scientists are predicting fiercer 'canes and expanding strike areas as far as New York in the future.
So what? Well, this endangers, not only lives, but the U.S.'s largest offshore oil and gas industry (who can we invade to fix that?), a huge seafood industry and about two million people.
The levees? The project to fix a known problem? Thirty seven years behind schedule. The article suggests that if scientists are not allowed into the Army Corps plans, the coast will disappear in the not so distance future. If that happens what will the huge population shifts do to the rest of the Country. Pre Karina the population of New Orleans was 450,000, now it is 265,000. I'm assuming these figures are New Orleans proper.
Its not all the Corp's fault. According to the article, local officials helped "scuttle" a Corp plan to building pumps and levees along Lake Pontchartain which would have prevented flooding. The author states, however, the Corps refused to be accountable to even the president and further states that water is a National Security issue. Which leads to another issue: foreign ownership of United States ports.
Well, enough for now, the article can be read in full here.