Environmental Protection

PBS NewsHour Reporting Friday on Rising Sea Levels in Coastal Louisiana

On Friday, PBS NewsHour reporter Hari Sreenivasan will report on how rising sea levels in coastal Louisiana are threatening Native Americans' tribal lands.

The piece is part of a series examining the impact of climate change on communities in America. It will explore Isle de Jean Charles, an island on Louisiana's coast that have many Native Americans have lived in since the 1800s. The island is starting to sink into the water.

“In the 1950’s, the island was 11 miles long and 5 miles across. Now, it is no more than two miles long and a quarter mile across,” Sreenivasan will say in Friday’s report. “Where residents once used to trap, hunt and plant gardens, dead trees stand in ghost forests because their root systems were unable to adapt to the saltwater intruding from the gulf.”

During the story, PBS will speak with residents of the island and scientists who argue that climate change, along with man-made levees and canals, contribue to rising sea levels.

“The lesson that south Louisiana can provide to the nation is what a rate of high sea level rise can do to the coast,” explains coastal geologist Alex Kolker. “And that is it can convert into open water, it can allow storm surges to propagate further inland, and be destructive to infrastructure and even people’s lives.”

Read more about the video here and check back on Friday to see when the story will air.

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