By Kathryn Courtney
What are you willing to pay for? A latte, pizza, a cab ride home or what about protection from Mother Nature? It does not matter how technologically advanced mankind has evolved, mankind cannot alter the weather. Natural disasters are deadly and can potentially wipe cities off the map. Hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis are damaging forces to cities. However, taking action before, after and during deadly storms is vital to help protect and prepare citizens. Sometimes citizens need to evacuate their homes because the storm is so catastrophic it can be dangerous for their safety. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina, the strongest storm since the last 100 years, hit the United States and is the most costly natural disaster ever to happen.
Hurricane Katrina forced more than 250,000 people to relocate to a safer city. After Hurricane Katrina, the citizens who relocated still went back to their homes, even though they live in an area still prone to disaster. Evacuating millions of people in one city is not always possible, so why do people still risk living in an area with the possibility of their homes getting destroyed? “New Orleans is where I grew up and is where my heart and soul is… I will never just give New Orleans up,” stated Brain Razin, who evacuated when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. People are not willing to leave their hometowns for whatever reason; therefore, storm protection is in order to protect citizens who live near the coast. How would citizens be protected against hurricanes? How would the city fund storm protection? Would coastal citizens pay for protection against Mother Nature?
Tae-Goun Kim, a scientist at Korea Maritime University, did research to see if Louisiana citizens would pay for storm protection. Specifically, he focused on funding for wetland restoration to protect the city from disastrous storms. Kim conducted a survey and found Louisiana citizens are willing to pay for wetland restoration so that they are protected against storms. However, restoring Louisiana wetlands does not mean a storm will never hit the coastline again. Restoring the wetlands might reduce some of the storms’ destruction. Protecting Louisiana’s coastline from hurricanes benefits the prevention of land loss, oil and gas industries and seafood production, which is vital to the nations economy.
Action needs to be taken immediately to protect Louisiana citizens from hurricanes by restoring the wetlands. Although mankind cannot alter Mother Nature, human intervention needs to take place. Putting together different methods of planning, protecting and restoring Louisiana’s coast and cities takes multiple teams of people. Many organizations already exist to help restore Louisiana’s coastline to a sustainable and productive state. Without people supporting and rebuilding the coastline, hurricanes will destroy and devastate more families and citizens of Louisiana. The United States will continue to lose an additional 1,000 square miles of land by the year 2050 and no longer can sustain the oil and gas industry, which is vital to the nation’s economy and Americans’ way of life. Take action and join or donate to one of the many organizations to help rebuild, restore and protect Louisiana’s coast.