Gulf of Mexico
Bill Feig / The Advocate

LA - Guest Column: Louisiana Can Lead the Nation in Fighting Sea Level Rise

The United States is a coastal nation, though our coasts are rapidly degrading due to rising seas, sinking lands and increasingly intense storms.

As we know well in Louisiana, as our coasts go, so goes the fabric of our cultures and communities, the backbone of our economies, the vibrancy of our ecology, and our safety and security.

The end of this unprecedented hurricane season reminds us that flood risks will only increase with sea level rise and climate change. In 2020 there were more named storms than ever before, an unprecedented five making landfall in Louisiana, including devastating, back-to-back blows for our neighbors to the west.

Even before this season, researchers calculated rising waters could force up to 13 million Americans to move this century. All this makes one thing clear — we need a coordinated national policy to confront the ever-encroaching seas, and we need it now. This national strategy can build on lessons we have learned here in Louisiana.

A national sea level strategy should have three major components: it should create resilient coastal communities, integrate the many uses of our coasts, and do so in a way that increases equity for those most at risk.

Creating resilient communities means creating communities that have the resources to function and thrive despite changing coasts and climate.

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