Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Development for High School Students
Working closely with The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Brown offers this rigorous academic program for pre-college students with interests in science, leadership, and cultural studies. Coastal Louisiana is losing land at an alarming rate which will impact availability of seafood and oil and gas throughout the country, in addition to many basic goods shipped to the heart of the country via the Mississippi River. While the coast cannot be restored to any point in the past, we must prepare for a changing future. Resources for this effort are limited and decision-makers face difficult choices. Together, we will learn about current conservation, restoration, and protection efforts in the region.
We will cover many subjects and issues during the program while forming a tight-knit learning community. Students should be prepared to discuss what sustainability currently and could possibly look like both in Louisiana and in their home communities.
The Mississippi River Delta is an enormously productive ecosystem, covering 2/3 of the continental United States, and its health is critical to a variety of both human and natural systems in and outside of Louisiana’s borders. Almost 100 years ago, for the purposes of navigation and flood control, citizens and the government began to levee the Mississippi River, preventing overtopping and the deposition of valuable sediments replenishing the delta. In the mid- 1900s, oil and gas exploration cut canals through coastal marshes, exposing freshwater marshes to the salty waters of the Gulf while oil and gas extraction increased rates of subsidence (land loss). Climate change has caused sea levels to rise, virtually swallowing marshes and making tropical storms more severe. Undoing the past and righting the future in the face of both natural and man-made disasters means bold action must be taken.