Appropriately called the Losing Ground Project, three men have teamed up to release a custom version of Google maps to show land loss in Louisiana, along with an accompanying story. The story was written by Bob Marshall of The Lens, data reporting, maps and design by Al Shaw of ProPublica and Brian Jacobs of Knight-Mozilla Open News.
The now available maps show the past and present land, an engineered coast, and the uncertain future the Louisiana faces.
“In 50 years, most of Southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes– 16 square miles a year– due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River.”
It’s going to get worst, even quicker, Marshall explained. “At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.”
Some scientists believe this could be one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the history of the US. Marshall says this near catastrophe is so far going “unabated and largely unnoticed.”
Click here to check out the data and read the full story by Marshall.