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The state of Louisiana is working to reverse much of the damage done by humans. They have an elaborate plan to spend billions to try to reclaim some of the coastal wetlands using more sediment that comes down the Mississippi River by “diverting” it and allowing it to flow into the marshes more naturally. The state is concerned about the more than 2 million people in the region. Louisiana’s working coast “annually sends more than $120 billion in goods and services to the rest of the United States and exports $36.2 billion internationally.” And it is central to the nation’s oil and gas industry and fisheries — it supplies 90% of the nation’s outer continental shelf oil and gas, 20% of the nation’s annual waterborne commerce, and 26% (by weight) of the continental U.S. commercial fisheries landings.
How Do They Know?
The researchers spent years extracting hundreds of “sediment cores,” or thick cylinders of mud and peat, from across the Mississippi Delta. They used these samples to analyze the sediment to determine the history of the region stretching back thousands of years. Consequently, they determined when the wetlands were created, and saw how after the last ice age much of the region was simply open water. Donald Boesch, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Maryland who has closely studied the Louisiana wetlands, told The Post that the study is “well-documented, analyzed and reasoned,” also pointed out that the marshes have been less vulnerable in recent years than scientists expected for reasons that are not well-understood. The authors are pessimistic that any short term slow down of wetlands loss is a sign of a change — they believe that it is inevitable that they will be submerged.
Over the last decade, nearly 91% of the sunflower sea star population has been wiped out, landing the species a “critically endangered” categorization last year. The sea stars, which have 24 arms, are an important part of the underwater food web: they keep kelp forests healthy by feeding on sea urchins.
Why This Matters: Between rising temperatures, overfishing, ocean acidification, among other harms, people have thrown the U.S. West Coast marine ecosystem off the balance.
Video gaming experts say that game design is now shifting towards specific environmental issues. Since games are designed by young people, it is not surprising that eco-based storylines like climate change and ocean exploration are coming into vogue. For example, the BBC Blue Planet II nature documentary inspired a video game called Beyond Blue, in which […]
A new report released last week by the United Nations found that the countries of the world aren’t taking ocean health as seriously as they should in the fight against climate change. The oceans provide a key function in absorbing carbon and heat from the atmosphere.
Why This Matters: The ocean has been a critical buffer against climate change, absorbing carbon and supporting ecosystems that prevent flooding, sustain communities, and more.
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