Perhaps the silver lining from the Hurricane Katrina disaster will be the recognition by more Americans that environmental degradation is a mortal threat to us -- our society, our lives, and yes, our economy. Fortunately, the media has been running quite a few stories on how the flooding in Louisiana after Katrina was worse because of the destroyed wetlands.

And maybe, just maybe, the Americans (including El Presidente) that never want to do anything to protect the environment because it's "too 'spensive for bidness' will finally realize something: Environmental degradation is bad for business, too.

Yes, these passages from The Independent in Britain sound like ignoring the environment is truly bad for business:

What has happened in recent decades has made matters worse. Not just in New Orleans but all along the Gulf Coast, human encroachment has accelerated without pause. This has meant taming natural water flows - including the gradual straightening of the Mississippi itself - and draining wetlands.

Among those lamenting past mistakes is John Barry, the author of Rising Tide, a book about the Mississippi flood of 1927. "People have said for a long time that we can't continue to do the things we're doing, but the reality is that we don't take natural disasters seriously until they happen," he said.

Quite what the long-term consequences of the flooding will be remains unclear. An unnamed Army Corps of Engineers officer told local radio yesterday that "if the bowl fills" it could be six months before all the water could be pumped back out again. Mayor Nagin gave a timeframe of 12-16 weeks but said rescue "was the main priority."

Anyone ready to talk about global warming? The German Environment Minister sees a link. Maybe our government will agree with the rest of world? Perhaps after a few more disasters?


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