Tide Lines by Ben Depp; Monique Verdin (Introduction by)In Tide Lines: A Photographic Record of Louisiana's Disappearing Coast, Ben Depp's photographs capture the beauty, complexity, and rapid destruction of south Louisiana. Once formed by sediment deposited by the Mississippi River, the Louisiana coast is now quickly eroding. Two thousand square miles of wetlands have returned to open water over the past eighty years. Depp's photographs communicate weather and seasonal changes-like the shifting high-water line, color temperature, and softness of light. A careful observer will notice coastal flora and distinguish living cypress trees from those that have been killed by saltwater intrusion, or see the patterns made by wave energy on barrier island beaches and sediment carried through freshwater diversions from the Mississippi River. With a powered paraglider, Depp flies between ten and ten thousand feet above the ground. He spends hours in the air, camera in hand, waiting for the brief moments when the first rays of sunlight mix with cool predawn light and illuminate forms in the grass, or when evening light sculpts fragments of marsh and geometric patterns of human enterprise-canals, oil platforms, pipelines, and roads. Featuring an introduction by Monique Verdin and over fifty color images, Tide Lines is an intense bird's-eye survey that depicts south Louisiana from an unfamiliar perspective, prompting the viewer to reconsider the value of this vanishing, otherworldly landscape.
Call Number: GB459.25 .D47 2023
Rising by Elizabeth RushFINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN GENERAL NONFICTION WINNER OF THE NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD A CHICAGO TRIBUNE TOP TEN BOOK OF 2018 A GUARDIAN, NPR's SCIENCE FRIDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, AND LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2018 Hailed as "deeply felt" (New York Times), "a revelation" (Pacific Standard), and "the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing" (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love. With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change is neither imagined nor distant--and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In Rising, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place. Weaving firsthand testimonials from those facing this choice--a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago--with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of these vulnerable communities, Rising privileges the voices of those too often kept at the margins.
Call Number: GB459.4 .R86 2018
The Source by Martin DoyleAn Amazon Best Book of the Year How rivers have shaped American politics, economics, and society from the beginnings of the Republic to today. America has more than 250,000 rivers, coursing over more than 3 million miles, connecting the disparate regions of the United States. On a map they can look like the veins, arteries, and capillaries of a continent-wide circulatory system, and in a way they are. Over the course of this nation's history rivers have served as integral trade routes, borders, passageways, sewers, and sinks. Over the years, based on our shifting needs and values, we have harnessed their power with waterwheels and dams, straightened them for ships, drained them with irrigation canals, set them on fire, and even attempted to restore them. In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west. Along the way, he explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment--over federalism, sovereignty and property rights, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development. Through his encounters with experts all over the country--a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a dendrochronologist who can predict the future based on the story trees tell about the past, a western rancher fighting for water rights--Doyle reveals the central role rivers have played in American history--and how vital they are to its future.
Call Number: E179 .D695 2018
Come Hell or High Water by Michael Eric DysonWhen Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands were left behind to suffer the ravages of destruction, disease, and even death. The majority of these people were black nearly all were poor. The Federal government's slow response to local appeals for help is by now notorious. Yet despite the cries of outrage that have mounted since the levees broke, we have failed to confront the disaster's true lesson: to be poor, or black, in today's ownership society, is to be left behind. Displaying the intellectual rigor, political passion, and personal empathy that have won him acclaim and fans all across the colour line, Michael Eric Dyson offers a searing assessment of the meaning of Hurricane Katrina. Combining interviews with survivors of the disaster with his deep knowledge of black migrations and government policy over decades, Dyson provides the historical context that has been sorely missing from public conversation. He explores the legacy of black suffering in America since slavery and ties its psychic scars to today's crisis. And, finally, his critique of the way black people are framed in the national consciousness will shock and surprise even the most politically savvy reader. With this clarion call Dyson warns us that we can only find redemption as a society if we acknowledge that Katrina was more than an engineering or emergency response failure. From the TV newsroom to the Capitol Building to the backyard, we must change the way we relate to the black and the poor among us. What's at stake is no less than the future of democracy.
Life RaftFrom WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio
In a podcast from WWNO, WRKF and PRX, comedian Lauren Malara and reporter Travis Lux explore your questions about living with climate change. How bad will the flooding get? Is it ever going to be too hot to live here? Have I had my last good oyster? We'll tackle it all.
To Save a Sinking Land: Coastal Restoration in LouisianaMichael Hopkins is Assistant Director of Pontchartrain Conservancy (PC), a nonprofit organization whose aim is promote environmental sustainability and address serious environmental challenges in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, a 10,000 square mile watershed in Louisiana.
Over the past 100 years, more than 2,000 square miles of coastal Louisiana have disappeared, detrimentally impacting the lives of so many.
Hopkins is a geologist whose focus at PC has been on coastal monitoring and restoration. Much of his work centers around subsidence, which is the gradual sinking of land.
In this region of Louisiana, subsidence contributes significantly to various environmental issues. And while it is a natural process in a delta, the situation is this area is unique because it has been cut off from the Mississippi River, which means there is no source of new sediment to maintain land elevation.
Hopkins explains the details of his work and the restoration strategy at PC, which involves the science of bringing back ridges, marshes, and swamps, as well as a process called sediment diversion to combat land loss.
Retreat from a Rising Sea by Orrin H. Pilkey; Linda Pilkey-Jarvis; Keith C. PilkeyMelting ice sheets and warming oceans are causing the seas to rise. By the end of this century, hundreds of millions of people living at low elevations along coasts will be forced to retreat to higher and safer ground. Because of sea-level rise, major storms will inundate areas farther inland and will lay waste to critical infrastructure, such as water-treatment and energy facilities, creating vast, irreversible pollution by decimating landfills and toxic-waste sites. This big-picture, policy-oriented book explains in gripping terms what rising oceans will do to coastal cities and the drastic actions we must take now to remove vulnerable populations. The authors detail specific threats faced by Miami, New Orleans, New York, and Amsterdam. Aware of the overwhelming social, political, and economic challenges that would accompany effective action, they consider the burden to the taxpayer and the logistics of moving landmarks and infrastructure, including toxic-waste sites. They also show readers the alternative: thousands of environmental refugees, with no legitimate means to regain what they have lost. The authors conclude with effective approaches for addressing climate-change denialism and powerful arguments for reforming U.S. federal coastal management policies.
Publication Date: 2016
Mississippi River Tragedies by Christine A. Klein; Sandra B. ZellmerRead a free excerpt here! American engineers have done astounding things to bend the Mississippi River to their will: forcing one of its tributaries to flow uphill, transforming over a thousand miles of roiling currents into a placid staircase of water, and wresting the lower half of the river apart from its floodplain. American law has aided and abetted these feats. But despite our best efforts, so-called "natural disasters" continue to strike the Mississippi basin, as raging floodwaters decimate waterfront communities and abandoned towns literally crumble into the Gulf of Mexico. In some places, only the tombstones remain, leaning at odd angles as the underlying soil erodes away. Mississippi River Tragedies reveals that it is seductively deceptive--but horribly misleading--to call such catastrophes "natural." Authors Christine A. Klein and Sandra B. Zellmer present a sympathetic account of the human dreams, pride, and foibles that got us to this point, weaving together engaging historical narratives and accessible law stories drawn from actual courtroom dramas. The authors deftly uncover the larger story of how the law reflects and even amplifies our ambivalent attitude toward nature--simultaneously revering wild rivers and places for what they are, while working feverishly to change them into something else. Despite their sobering revelations, the authors' final message is one of hope. Although the acknowledgement of human responsibility for unnatural disasters can lead to blame, guilt, and liability, it can also prod us to confront the consequences of our actions, leading to a liberating sense of possibility and to the knowledge necessary to avoid future disasters.
Publication Date: 2014
The Big Muddy by Christopher MorrisIn The Big Muddy, the first long-term environmental history of the Mississippi, Christopher Morris offers a brilliant tour across five centuries as he illuminates the interaction between people and the landscape, from early hunter-gatherer bands to present-day industrial and post-industrial society. Morris shows that when Hernando de Soto arrived at the lower Mississippi Valley, he found an incredibly vast wetland, forty thousand square miles of some of the richest, wettest land in North America, deposited there by the big muddy river that ran through it. But since then much has changed, for the river and for the surrounding valley. Indeed, by the 1890s, the valley was rapidly drying. Morris shows how centuries of increasingly intensified human meddling--including deforestation, swamp drainage, and levee construction--led to drought, disease, and severe flooding. He outlines the damage done by the introduction of foreign species, such as the Argentine nutria, which escaped into the wild and are now busy eating up Louisiana's wetlands. And he critiques the most monumental change in the lower Mississippi Valley--the reconstruction of the river itself, largely under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. Valley residents have been paying the price for these human interventions, most visibly with the disaster that followed Hurricane Katrina. Morris also describes how valley residents have been struggling to reinvigorate the valley environment in recent years--such as with the burgeoning catfish and crawfish industries--so that they may once again live off its natural abundance. Morris concludes that the problem with Katrina is the problem with the Amazon Rainforest, drought and famine in Africa, and fires and mudslides in California--it is the end result of the ill-considered bending of natural environments to human purposes.
Publication Date: 2012
This Delta, This Land by Mikko SaikkuThis Delta, This Land is a comprehensive environmental history of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta - the first one to place the Delta's economic and cultural history in an environmental context. The Delta, the floodplain between two great rivers in the northwestern corner of Mississippi, has changed enormously since the Civil War. Agriculture, lumbering, and flood-management schemes have transformed it beyond recognition - and beyond any prospects for a full recovery. However, says Mikko Saikku, the 150 years following the Civil War brought greater environmental change than we generally realize. Also, the long-term environmental history of the Delta is much more complex than our current view of it, which privileges recent periods rather than presenting the entire continuum. Looking across thousands of years, Saikku examines successive human societies in the Delta, drawing connections between environmental and social problems and noting differences between Native Americans and Euro-Americans in their economies, modes of production, and land-use patterns. Saikku's range of sources is astonishing: travel literature, naturalists' writings, government records, company archives, archaeological data, private correspondence, and more. As he documents how such factors as climate and water levels shaped the Delta, he also reveals the human aspects of the region's natural history, including land reclamation, slave and sharecropper economies, ethnic and racial perceptions of land ownership and stewardship, and even blues music.