Lake Charles, Louisiana, is a particularly sensitive canary in the coal mine of global warming. Not only is southwest Louisiana low-lying in the age of sea-rise; the land is also subsiding faster than just about anywhere on earth, and water courses through everything.
We talk about paying attention, as though it is a debt—and these days, attention is definitely currency. We still use money and buy material stuff, but these transactions all begin by gaining our limited attention.
In Louisiana’s future, the EPA says, there will be “retreating shores,” stronger and more frequent hurricanes, more flooding, more heat than ever, and reduced crop and fishery yields. And as disasters linked to climate change increase in scale and number, we can all expect to pay for them, with interrupted commerce and supply lines, higher insurance rates, and more federal aid for recoveries like this one.
The Common Reader, a publication of Washington University in St. Louis, offers the best in reviews, articles and creative non-fiction engaging the essential debates and issues of our time.
Sign-up for email updates or “This Just In,” The Common Reader newsletter.Subscribe Now