And a painful show that was. What I want to know is how other countries’ media covers domestic disasters. I have newfound respect for CNN–but just— since moving to Southeast Asia. CNN-World surprisingly maintains semblance of journalistic precepts, which at CNN-US have been bumped by corporate interests. I’d almost forgotten the comical cowboy antics of on the ground reportage that eclipses the gravity of events until we got streaming domestic feed for the hurricane coverage. Does anyone else feel like slapping these reporters?
Katrina turned the media spotlight on Louisiana’s function in the US economy, despite the state’s economic ailments. Prime location at the anal terminus of the artery of US commerce that is the Mississippi River imparts heavy responsibilities. It supplies 25% of the nation’s seafood. The rigging industry provides 15% of the nation’s oil. It supports the rail and shipping traffic for petroleum, petrochemical, shipbuilding, and aerospace industries, as well as the international trade bound for points north. Direct hit from a Cat 5 Katrina would have upset the economic landscape not just for Louisiana or the region, but also for the entire country.
These activities deal the Mississippi delta an ecological blow, one of the consequences being oxygen-depleted coastal dead zones. The US Gulf Coast is one of a growing number of hypoxic regions around the world, the largest in the western hemisphere. Healthy wetlands provide a natural buffer against storms making landfall. Unfortunately, wetland ecology loses out when weighed against the billions in industries sustaining immediate and material human needs.
Louisiana and the coastal states are in an ecological quagmire that has been begging attention for decades. With the increasing frequency and power of Gulf storms due to global warming–does anyone doubt the phenomenon exists anymore??— it’s a double whammy that may just rearrange the geography faster than the Army Corps of Engineers can counter.
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