State of Disaster: A Historical Geography of Louisiana's Land Loss Crisis
Published by: LSU Press
Imprint: LSU Press
Published: October 2021
Imprint: LSU Press
Page Count: 210 Pages
Illustrations: 9 halftones, 1 line drawing, 13 maps
Dimensions: 139.00 x 215.00
210 Pages, 139.00 x 215.00 mm, 9 halftones, 1 line drawing, 13 maps
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State of Disaster: A Historical Geography of Louisiana?s Land Loss Crisis explores Louisiana?s protracted efforts to restore and protect its coastal marshes, nearly always with minimal regard for the people displaced by those efforts. As Craig E. Colten shows, the state?s coastal restoration plan seeks to protect cities and industry but sacrifices the coastal dwellers who have maintained their presence in this perilous place for centuries.
This historical geography examines in turn the adaptive capacity of those living through repeated waves of calamity; the numerous disjointed environmental management regimes that contributed to the current crisis; the cartographic visualizations of land loss used to activate public coastal policy; and the phases of public input that nevertheless failed to give voice to the citizens most impacted by various environmental management strategies. In closing, Colten situates Louisiana?s experience within broader discussions of climate change and recovery from repeated crises.
Steeped in the literature on hazards and resilience, and deeply familiar with the perilous place that is coastal Louisiana, Colten masterfully explains how policy makers responded to successive disasters with piecemeal, disarticulated efforts at remediation and environmental management that, collectively, failed to recognize and address the cultural impacts of, and economic inequities produced by, these initiatives. Graeme Wynn, professor emeritus of geography, University of British Columbia
Colten reminds us that Louisiana?s coast is a human place, diverse in tradition and ways of living, working, and adapting to environmental change. He warns that any plan for coastal restoration is doomed, if it privileges science, engineering, and economics over social sciences, geography, history, and other fields of expertise on the human condition, and indeed, over the people themselves. Christopher Morris, author of "The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples"
Meticulously researched and sensitively argued, State of Disaster paints a lesson for all who may confront subsiding lands, rising seas, and disappearing coastal heritage. In our age of accelerating global change, the contested and dynamic Mississippi Delta becomes an evocative case study for finding better ways to manage the planet?s irreplaceable cultural and natural treasures. Marcus Hall, author of "Earth Repair: A Transatlantic History of Environmental Restoration"
Craig Colten speaks as a long-time resident of Louisiana who is also a dispassionate observer of a special place that is under threat. He is a guide for the rest of us, pointing toward the kind of place-focused environmental and social restoration that could help many coastal regions. Colten is a master of what we know about Louisiana?s coast. But he argues that science is not enough. At a time when the state is preparing another round of interventions to shape the coast, Colten argues for humility and for making expertise serve public needs. Knowledge and values must come from the people who know and use the coast. This is important for social justice, but also for the success of any restoration effort, because the ways people learn from and use the coast in the future is vital to the region?s fate. Karen O’Neill, Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University