Every 100 minutes, a football field of land disappears into the Gulf of Mexico. To highlight this national land loss crisis, Restore the Mississippi River Delta released a commercial during the Big Game on Feb. 3 that urges viewers across the United States to take necessary action to protect and restore an area that is vital to the entire nation.
“We’ve called on children from the New Orleans area and nearby coastal communities to help us deliver a clear message — if we don’t do anything to restore coastal Louisiana and protect our communities, our children and grandchildren will feel the impacts on a massive scale,” said Steve Cochran, campaign director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “The future of our great state — and our industries, economy, wildlife and unique culture — depends on how effectively we implement restoration and protection projects today. 2019 is a critical year for Louisiana, and the decisions we make now will have significant impact on future generations.”
The commercial, titled “Protect Our Coast. Protect Their Future,” was filmed across south Louisiana and features a diverse group of children from the region who are directly impacted by the coastal land loss crisis. In addition to the ad’s debut on Sunday, Restore the Mississippi River Delta — a coalition of local and national conservation groups working in Louisiana to protect people, wildlife and jobs by connecting the river and its wetlands — will run the ad for an additional six weeks, accompanied by an online advocacy campaign through social media, YouTube and at RestoreTheCoast.org.
After the devastating no-call that cost our boys in Black and Gold their chance at the Big Game, many fans around the nation are calling for a boycott. Even if they miss the game, Restore the Mississippi River Delta is hopeful that fans will be on the lookout in the weeks to come for the real stars of the day — the children of Louisiana’s coast. According to Cochran, “These kids are the real stars of Sunday’s game. Their message, however, is one that will resonate long after the game ends. The restoration and protection of Louisiana’s coast is for their future and the future of our entire region. As our star quarterback Drew Brees has said, let’s all come together and work to give back to our state and communities and accomplish great things together.”
The campaign encourages viewers to consider how the decisions being made today about Louisiana’s coast will affect the future of our children and grandchildren and add their voices to a chorus of people demanding action. The coalition is hoping to bring awareness to the issue of coastal land loss as told through the children’s voices because, ultimately, this is about their future.
“It’s very important for my generation to care about this issue,” said Madeline Heymann, a 13-year-old New Orleans native who appears in the campaign. “This is our future. Without action, our home and state are in danger.”
Louisiana’s wetlands feed and fuel the nation, and the erosion of these ecosystems is the greatest conservation issue our nation is currently facing. Louisiana contains five of the nation’s 15 largest shipping ports by tonnage, provides 30 percent of commercial fishing landings in the lower 48 states, and generates $9.3 billion per year in tourism.
To date, Louisiana has lost 1.2 million acres of land. Recent catastrophes, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the BP oil disaster exacerbated this coastal crisis. Without action, Louisiana is projected to lose up to an additional 4,000 square miles over the next 50 years.
There are many ways to get involved in the fight to save coastal Louisiana. From volunteering to contacting elected officials to attending public meetings and other events, all Americans have the power to make a difference in restoring Louisiana’s coast. To view the campaign or get involved, visit RestoreTheCoast.org.