On Monday, May 3, Rachel Maddow took her show to Venice, Louisiana and covered all bases on the BP oil spill. If you have time, listen to the whole show. If you don’t, this link takes you to last few minutes and her plea that we Americans take seriously the destruction of the coastal ecosystem. It is way too easy to blame Louisiana’s coastal problems on Louisiana. Louisiana’s problems are Federal problems: the construction of levees that may human habitation of the Arkansas and Mississippi delta lands but prevent the river from washing freshwater and sediment into the wetlands when the river floods.
Then there is our thirst for oil: When I was researching The Mississippi: A Visual Biography I talked to a ranger at the Barataria Preserve, who noted that Louisiana, and by extension, we Americans, have made a pact with big oil to the detriment of the coastal ecosystem and hydrology, the way water moves through the wetlands. Our demands for oil have led to the destruction of the wetlands from the inside. Now the BP oil spill could lead to the destruction of the wetlands from the Gulf of Mexico, from the outside.
Update, June 3: On Wednesday, June 2, Rachel Maddow interviewed David Muth and Larry McKinney at the Barataria Preserve, where they discussed the value of Louisiana’s wetlands in soaking up the power of a hurricane storm surge. Follow the link to the June 2 broadcast, which comes in 5 parts. Each is worth the time it takes to watch it. On Thursday, June 3, she will move south to Grand Isle.