Crisis Communication

by Kathryn Courtney

PhD. Andrea Miller discussed crisis communication. I love the way she gave multiple examples throughout her presentation. This allowed different perspectives of vocabulary and crisis helped me understand her points

The issues during the presentation are visually it was boring. The slides were black and white and only 4 or 5 pictures were presented. The lack of color and visuals left the presentation bland; therefore, I was not fully engaged and found my self not fully paying attention.

The 3 visuals that Miller included were very engaging and caught my attention. The visuals were iconic images that represented specific crisis. “Power of the image,” said Miller. “Images can really change the way people see and interpret the event,” said Miller.

She talked a lot about how powerful visuals are, but she only used 3 in her presentation. Maybe she wanted the class to pay attention to her and not the slides. Overall, I enjoyed the presentation even though the slides were dull.

Advertisements

Litter…Elsewhere

By: Michelle Watson

In writing my last assignment for this class about the amount of litter found in Bayou Manchac and Bayou fountain, I found that Louisiana was ranked in the top 10 dirtiest states in America. But what seemed to be even worse for me was that Georgia was in the top list as well along with New York, my home state

While it is not a stretch that New York has a ridiculous amount of litter, it was very surprising to find out that Georgia had a considerable amount of litter as well. Maybe this was surprising to me because where I live in Georgia there is not much litter. In fact in 2005, Georgia passed a law that prohibited smoking in public places, because of this there’s not much cigarette bud litter or tobacco related litter.

While it baffles me that Georgia produces so much litter, it does not baffle me that New York does. In a city with a ton of people walking around, no wonder there’s a considerable amount of litter. Same goes for Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. New Orleans has a considerable amount of litter because of the amount of people that come to visit and come to party. So I looked around and tried to figure out why certain cities had more litter than others.

It turned out that most cities with a lot of litter have a big tourism industry (like New Orleans, New York, or Atlanta) and, that these cities had a higher population of young people living in them.  Young people living in big cities – Go figure!

So what does this mean? Does it mean that younger people are opposed to cleaning up more than older people. I for one, do not consider myself one of those young people. On top of that, the question is where is all of this litter coming from and why don’t people care about it ? Keeping America Beautiful Inc. found three reasons that most people litter:

  • They don’t have to clean it up
  • It’s not their property
  • If there is litter already there, people are more likely to contribute to the already growing mass of trash.

What a lot of people don’t tend to realize, specifically young people is that cleaning up that litter is coming out of your pocket.  GreenEcoService.com found that in 2003 17 million taxpayer dollars were used to clean up roadside trash in Georgia. In Louisiana, 15 million taxpayer dollars were used. To find out about other states you can look on their website.

If people really knew how much they spent on litter that left after tailgating on LSU’s campus, or even more ridiculous, the litter that they throw out of their car window, maybe they wouldn’t do it anymore. Until then states will have to use our hard earned cash to continue to clean up what is already ours.

To make it simple, pick up your trash.

 

Louisiana residents concerned about the coastline

Louisiana residents are worried about losing their home near the coastline since Hurricane Katrina, but one state agency is hoping to restore the marshes and wetlands that protects Louisiana from disaster.

“We’ll look at the maps even just to go fishing,” Chase Doiron, biology sophomore at Louisiana State University, said. “You get to the water, and it’s completely different. These maps were made 5 or 6 years ago.”

Map of Louisiana with solid land only

Map of Louisiana with solid land only

Map of Louisiana solid land and marsh

Map of Louisiana solid land and marsh

Doiron lived in Houma before attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Doiron’s grandmother’s neighborhood would usually flood during the heavy rain. He said that the street is a nightmare to drive in, because no vehicle can drive through the flooding.

John Fussell, an environmental engineering junior at LSU, said that Louisiana could be a wasteland if there’s no action put towards protecting the environment.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was formed after Hurricane Katrina to focus on restoring and protecting the Louisiana coastline. The marshes were sinking into the Gulf of Mexico due the lack of sediments coming from the Mississippi River.

“You lose your coast, and you lose your buffer,” CPRA Public Information Director Chuck Perrodin said. “The storms that hit New Orleans get to be more deadly than ever.”

Louisiana has been losing 16 square miles of land per year, which is equivalent to the length of a football field per hour. The CPRA’s efforts at restoring land have replaced 15,000 football fields worth of land since hurricane Katrina. CPRA has recreated the barrier islands to protect the marshes that protect the state. Also, the CPRA has brought in sediments from the Mississippi River to strengthen the marshes and replace nutrients needed to avoid sinking.

Perrodin said that the Coastal Master Plan was scientifically proven to work. However, residents like Doiron are worried about the state of the towns near the coast in the long run.

Recycling: It’s easy, so why not?

by Kaci Jones

Animal Science major at LSU, recycling her old Biology exam. Picture was captured by: Kaci Jones

Animal Science major at LSU, recycling her old Biology exam.
Picture was captured by: Kaci Jones

As a fellow college student, I know that recycling can be put on a back burner when you’re cramming for tests or running late, but did you realize that the five second decision or the few extra feet could make a huge impact on our campus? Today, our recycling rate at LSU is at a very low 37%, and it’s steadily decreasing. As students, it’s our responsibility to help the campus get to where it needs to be, which is well above 50%. With the help of students and the work of the sustainability department at LSU, we have a really great chance to raise the recycling rate.

Sarah Temple, the manager of LSU’s Campus Sustainability Initiatives, saus that not only does recycling reduce the amount of raw materials used, but it also helps decrease greenhouse gases.

I bet you didn’t know this? But to break things down a little bit: the waste that doesn’t get recycled goes to landfills. There are tons of these: multiple in each city even. But did you know that the landfills emit methane? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane is the second leading greenhouse gas emitted into the environment by human activities.

Did you know that recycling just one aluminum can could supply enough energy to watch the entire LSU football game? Well it can!

Game days here at LSU are also a big factor that hurt our campus with regards to recycling. Tailgaters aren’t aware of how much trash is actually disposed of and not recycled on game days.

Elizabeth Vowell, of WAFB news, wrote an article on September 21 stating that over 50 tons of trash are gathered every game day. That is about a pound of trash for every seat in Tiger Stadium. This is astonishing, and we need you to help solve this problem.

Morgan Wallace, a Sports Administration major at LSU, recycling an old newspaper at LSU's Kappa Alpha Theta house.  Picture captured by: Kaci Jones

Morgan Wallace, a Sports Administration major at LSU, recycling an old newspaper at LSU’s Kappa Alpha Theta house.
Picture captured by: Kaci Jones

LSU sustainability has put out recycling bins all throughout campus, especially where game day traffic is high. So why not use them? They have also gone around to different classes to educate us, as students, about recycling. This is because The Recycling Foundation has been rejecting a high percentage of our trash that is being recycled, because students are recycling the wrong objects.

According to The Recycling Foundation, things that can be recycled are as follows: recyclable paper, newspaper and inserts, magazines, catalogs, junk mail and envelops, home office paper, phone books, folders, water bottles, milk jugs, etc. Things that cannot be recycled are: pizza boxes, wet, soiled, or food-stained paper, disposable places and cups, Styrofoam, paper towels and wrapping paper.

If you want to do more to help recycling, November 10-14 is considered Nation Recycling Week. I ask that during this span of time, you recycle everything that can be recycled. There are many different programs that will have events going on during this time at LSU. You can volunteer to recycle as much as possible after tailgating ends and on the Sundays after.

Student Government at LSU has also proposed a bill so that recycling bins can be put in Tiger Stadium. This is also recommended by Temple to increase the rate of recycling on game day.

5 tips to help your recycling experience be worthwhile:

1) Take time to learn the recycling policies around Baton Rouge. LSU goes through The Recycling Foundation.

2) Know what items can and cannot be recycled.

3) Reduce your waste, most especially with items that cannot be recycled.

4) Get a certain wastebasket just for recycling. At my apartment I have two baskets, one for trash and one for recycled goods that I bring to campus every week.

5) Reuse. For example, most of the time when I print, it isn’t for anything official. So I either print front and back to save paper or reuse paper that is around my apartment.

The LSU sustainability department is doing a lot to help solve this problem and get our campus where we need to be, but it all comes down to you. So when you mess up on your homework, finish off your coke, or clean out your binders at the end of the semester, please recycle and help get our campus back in the swing of things.

Every little effort counts and adds up to become a huge movement, so let’s get moving.

Save Lake Peigneur

By Maddie Duhon

Residents of Iberia Parish living on the banks of Lake Peigneur are faced with uncertainty about the safety of their homes as AGL Resources, Inc., a natural gas company, pressures Louisiana to expand and add two natural gas storage caverns under Lake Peigneur in the Jefferson Island Salt Dome.

Aerial view of Lake Peigneur Photo credit: http://facsimilemagazine.com/2007/12/

Aerial view of Lake Peigneur
Photo credit: http://facsimilemagazine.com/2007/12/

The 4,000 local residents are concerned with salt-water intrusion into the Chicot aquifer and safety issues for those living within a one-mile radius of Lake Peigneur. AGL Resources, Inc. has been using the underground salt domes as storage and hub facilities for pressurized natural gas since 1994, with two caverns currently in use. Many local residents oppose the drilling more caverns under the lake.

“There was no doubt in my mind that the fresh water aquifer was in danger and that something needed to be done,” said Nara Crowley, previous president of Save Lake Peigneur Inc., a nonprofit group that has been fighting the expansion of natural gas storage at Lake Peigneur for almost a decade. “Taking no action to save this natural resource for future generations is unacceptable. As a result I became actively committed with fellow residents to protect our lives, drinking water and environment.”

To create another dome, AGL Resources, Inc. has to drill deep under the surface and pump in millions of gallons of water to dissolve the salt. This water is then removed, leaving space to store natural gas. This fresh water will be taken from the Chicot aquifer, the primary source of drinking water for 17 parishes, and turned into salt water through this process. Residents are worried about the potential negative effects of taking a significant amount of water from the Chicot aquifer. It supplies drinking water for a large area of Acadiana, including the Teche area. Three million gallons of drinking water and two million gallons of non-potable drinking water will be withdrawn daily. This large suction is an issue referred to as a cone of depression, which is the pulling of salt water in. As water is removed from the aquifer, salt water from the Gulf might intrude.

Diagram of a cone of depression, which is created when pumping from a well in a water table aquifer lowers the water table near the well Photo credit: http://wellwater.oregonstate.edu/groundwater-and-wells

Diagram of a cone of depression, which is created when pumping from a well in a water table aquifer lowers the water table near the well
Photo credit: http://wellwater.oregonstate.edu/groundwater-and-wells

Scientific experts have discovered a risk of salt-water intrusion into the Chicot Aquifer if the new storage caverns are created. According to United States Geological records, a 10-foot drop occurred in the aquifer water level within four years of creating the original two caverns, the same amount that had previously taken 50 years to deplete.

foam

Foam can be seen on Lake Peigneur’s surface. Its source is unknown. Photo credit: http://www.standeyo.com/NEWS/07_Earth_Changes/070113.Lake.Peigneur.foam.html

In 2006, unusual bubbling lasting from 20 minutes to more than 24 hours, described as long zigzag lines up to 3,000 feet long and 15 feet wide, ran across the lake surface. No one knows the cause of this strange phenomenon.

“I have lived on the lake for more than six years. I am concerned for the water quality if this project is approved, stability of the salt dome after more drilling, failure of structure of the two existing caverns, a sink hole, and any other possibility,” said Cherie Lecompte, a local resident. “Delcambre has hundreds of residents and two schools within a two-mile radius of the lake. AGL Resources, Inc.’s operations should not be allowed to proceed in a residential area. There are too many dangers and possibilities.”

Lake_Peigneur_Waterfall

The backwards flow of the normally outflowing Delcambre Canal temporarily created the biggest waterfall in Louisiana. Here is the huge waterfall that formed when an oil drilling rig in Lake Peigneur punctured the ceiling of an underlying salt mine. Photo credit: The Mining Operations Division, Department of Minerals and Energy, Western Australia

Many years ago, a Texaco oil rig accidentally drilled into the salt mine under the lake, creating a whirlpool that sucked in Texaco’s drilling platform, 11 barges and 65 acres of terrain. So much water drained into the caverns that the flow of the Delcambre Canal, which usually empties into the Vermilion Bay, was reversed, resulting in the tallest waterfall ever in the state of Louisiana at 164 feet, as the lake refilled with salt water. This permanently affected the ecosystem of the lake, as saltwater replaced the freshwater and  tremendously increased the water’s depth.

Residents are fearful of another freak catastrophe if more caverns are created.

For AGL Resources, Inc. to build these new caverns, a permit from the state is required. Recently Judge Keith Comeaux of the 16th Judicial District Court based in New Iberia reversed the decision of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to issue a Coastal Use Permit to construct and operate two natural gas storage caverns in the Jefferson Island Salt Dome under Lake Peigneur. Attorneys for the state Department of Natural Resources have not yet decided whether to appeal this ruling.

“The residents of Delcambre love the lake. There are always people using it for recreational purposes,” said Lecompte. “My favorite part of living on the lake is the tranquility of it on a cool, sunny day, the birds flying overhead and the fish jumping. It’s our own paradise!”

Is Hope on the Way?

by Kathryn Courtney

Since 1927, Louisiana constantly loses landmass, according to Chuck Perrodin, the public information coordinator at CWPPRA. This local issue threatens residents who live in Louisiana and the oil and gas industry, which is vital to the nation’s economy. Sea level rising and the coastal storms contribute to Louisiana’s coast line diminishing. Government officials implement restoration projects to save Louisiana coastline like the 2012 Costal Master Plan.

In order to see how Louisiana lost land, we must find out how Louisiana gained its landmass. The Mississippi River washed down sediments from the Rocky Mountains to create Louisiana. “Louisiana’s coast is like a layered cake. Multiple layers of sediment creates and builds the coast,” said Perrodin.

The Great Flood of 1927 changed America politically and geography. The government went ahead and leveed off the river to keep it from flooding. This devastated Louisiana’s coast because no more new layers of sediment could disperse and build Louisiana’s coastline. “The levees force all the sediment into the Gulf of Mexico preventing the land from rebuilding,” said David Susko, undergraduate of geology and New Orleans resident. With that being said if no levees existed, New Orleans would not either, said Susko.

For the past 25 years, Louisiana loses a football field of wetlands an hour. “I am not fully aware of the procedures people are taking to save Louisiana’s coast, but I am a concerned about this issue,” said Brain Razin, a New Orleans resident. Furthermore, Razin discussed that “the Louisianan culture that is contained in these southern Louisianan towns and parishes are slowly being swallowed by the Gulf.”

“Louisiana is uniquely important to the nation,” said Perrodin. Louisiana is the top producer of domestic oil, natural gas. Louisiana produces and transports one-third of the oil and gas. Also, Louisiana is the number one fishery in the lower 48 states. From energy, transporting cargo and seafood/wildlife Louisiana’s coast is vital to the nations sustainability. Restoring Louisiana’s coast is essential to support all of these industries.

These boats provide 16 percent of the U.S. fishery harvest. This image found on flickr.

These boats provide 16 percent of the U.S. fishery harvest. This image found on flickr.

Sea levels rising and landmass sinking affects Louisiana’s coast. The ice caps and the glaciers melting and thermal expansion, which water heats up and it expands, contributes to the sea level rising. This rise in sea level might cancel some of the projects in the Master Plan before the projects are even complete.

Coastal storms and hurricanes also affect the coastline and Louisiana residents. Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana by breaking down levees and killing 1,836 people. New Orleans was about 80 percent under water and some places were 20 feet deep in water because of Hurricane Katrina. When residents evacuated, they left their homes and jobs, resulting in some victim’s unemployment.

Hurricane Katrina impacted coastal areas like the Chandeleur Islands, uninhabited barrier islands. The Chandeleur Islands significantly lost landmass after Katrina. These islands create a buffer between the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana from storms. Also, these buffer islands are vital to protect New Orleans from wind and storm surges. “I fear that in the near future there may not be enough of the barrier islands left to protect Louisiana from destruction of future hurricanes,” said Razin.

Chandeleur Islands before (left) and after (right) Hurricane Katrina. This image found on Wikimedia Commons.

Chandeleur Islands before (left) and after (right) Hurricane Katrina. This image found on Wikimedia Commons.

Losing these islands disturbs the wildlife’s natural habitat. Many birds migrate and fly south stopping at the Chandeleur islands. Also, the islands are a popular habitat for fish attracting fisherman across the nation expanding the fishery industry. Maintaining the islands is important for wildlife sustainability.

The government created the Coast Protection and Restoration Authority to have one central hub of communication about Louisiana’s coastline. The CPRA incorporated the Master Plan of 2012, which takes action to bring this crisis to a halt and even regain land in 30 years. “The 2012 Master Plan shows scientifically that if the projects in the Mater Plan are carried out, within 30 years Louisiana will have stopped losing land and will begin to gain land,” said Perrodin. If Perrodin’s conclusions are right about Louisiana’s coast, then in about 50 years Louisiana should have new land, therefore, eliminating this coastal crisis.

Louisiana’s dynamic coastline is crucial to the nation and to the wildlife. Planning for the future and taking action about the coastal land loss issue can prevent disasters from occurring. Perrodin believes the Master Plan is the saving grace for Louisiana’s coastline. Hopefully, he is right so we can sustain the economy, oil and gas industries, the wildlife habitats and Louisiana and its culture.

BP Oil Spill: Have We Made Any Progress?

by Sarah Patterson

It has been almost 5 years since the Deepwater Horizon Blowout, also known as the BP oil spill. On April 20, 2010, an oil rig exploded and then sank into the gulf. Oil gushed out of the rig for 87 days until it was finally stopped on July 15th. The explosion killed 11 people and injured many others. Approximately 210 million gallons of oil spilled out into the gulf. There is no doubt this event was a huge travesty. Are we still experiencing impacts?

There are varying opinions on just how severe these impacts are and how long they will last. The longest lasting impact of the oil is on the wildlife. Many species are struggling to recover. However, some areas of the gulf are beginning to recover, including beaches and some marshes. Nature has begun healing itself.

Overall, the impacts are not as horrific as they could have been. Dr. Chris Reddy, who has his PhD in chemical oceanography and is a scientist for the non-profit organization Woods Hole Oceanography Institution, says that there are still impacts. But at what scale are these impacts affecting us today?

Reddy says that we should recognize “how good of a chemist Mother Nature is when dealing with an uninvited guest.”

Jane Lubchenco, a professor at Oregon State University with a PhD in marine ecology from Harvard University, said in an article in the Times-Picayune :“Much of the oil disappeared relatively quickly thanks to the existence of bacteria [in the Gulf].” She explained that the warm water and the circulation of water in the Gulf helped certain bacteria to consume the oil. The spill could have been much worse, but nature was able to help fix itself.

Dr. Ed Overton, an emeritus professor at Louisiana State University with a PhD in environmental science, said in an article in the Times-Picayune :“the environment is bouncing back very well… Oil is still in the marsh, but the fish, shrimp, birds had returned to the area a year later.”

BP-oil-spill-clean-up-Ala-006

Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features

A large concern was that the oil would ruin the beaches and tourism would decrease. However, Dr. Reddy, who visited the gulf shores in Florida and Alabama a few weeks ago, said that there are “no globes of oil on the beach.” Beaches still have some oil, but only in small particles called “sand patties, which are 10% oil and 90% sand,” explains Reddy. Tourism is still booming on gulf shores, and is still a multi-million dollar industry. Reddy says, “tourism, economy, local beaches; I don’t think are a concern anymore.”

Finally, another reason the gulf is beginning to recover is the fact that so many volunteers have helped to restore the gulf. The massive effort by nonprofit organizations and volunteers helped restore animals and their habitats.

Although these improvements have happened in the gulf, we should remember that there are still serious problems.

The largest of these impacts is on wildlife and their habitats.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services, birds, turtles, shellfish, fish and some other animals are the most affected by oil. When birds come in contact with oil, they can have trouble flying, floating or diving. They also may ingest the oil when grooming themselves, which can eventually lead to death.

Dolphins and turtles are still experiencing effects from the oil spill.  Dolphins have developed lung disease and are still dying off from the oil. Endangered sea turtles died from the oil, and dead turtles are still being found, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Species of fish that are most affected by the spill include Yellow fin tuna and Blue tuna. Oil affects the fish through ingestion and absorption through their gills. Their eggs and larvae can be killed from the oil as well.

There have been so many negative impacts from the Deepwater Horizon Blowout that it is important to take the time to understand some positives. Parts of the gulf have recovered and the impacts on some areas were not as severe as initially predicted.  There is still plenty of recovery and restoration that needs to be done, especially towards healing the wildlife that has been affected. Communities, non-profit organizations, scientists and volunteers continue to strive to improve the impacts from this disaster.

For more information on the wildlife affected and the actual numbers of affected animals, Ocean Conservancy put together research findings here:

http://www.oceanconservancy.org/places/gulf-of-mexico/pdf-4-years-after-bp.pdf

For more information on how wildlife is affected by oil, U.S. Fish and Wildlife released a fact sheet.

http://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/pdfs/DHJICFWSOilImpactsWildlifeFactSheet.pdf