Connections: ecosystems and economies

NEW ORLEANS – Interesting story in The Times-Picayune this morning. Robert Thomas, chairman of environmental communications at Loyola Univeristy addressed a business lunch of the Association for Corporate Growth yesterday. Sorry, I can't get a link to it right now.

Anybody watching TV knows that the oil disaster threatens the Louisiana fishing industry, he said. But people will soon become aware of just how interconnected ecosystems and economies are. He pointed to the chicken being served for lunch. Oil can kill the plankton in the waters of the gulf, and if the plankton die, the menhaden fish will be endangered. That is a type of fish used for fish meal, a high protein chicken feed. In the future, we can blame BP for scrawnier, more expensive chickens?

Finally, he said, people are becoming acutely aware of the importance of wet lands. "We’ve talked about it for more than 30 years and just now people are saying, 'Wow!' These wetlands are important!"

Thomas was critical of the way research grants to study the oil disaster and its effects are distributed. "It's amazing how little grant money is going to Louisianna," he said. "We have the best wetlands scientists in the world here."

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