Opportunity in Disaster

Authors: John Moore John Moore is a Green For All Fellow The recent oil spill in the Gulf Coast has added yet another challenge to the recovery in New Orleans, even though much progress has been made following the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina. The city has been experiencing major strides in its reconstruction efforts. We continue to rebuild — with a focus on green strategies — and while many remain concerned about more hurricanes, not too many expected a disaster to strike again in the form of a major oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon explosion is impacting the health of this region. Oil has begun to creep into our wetlands, destabilizing the ecological balance of our estuaries. The pollution caused from the ever-spreading oil slick will cause massive loss of jobs through the obstruction of our seafood production, and may potentially hurt tourism, our two biggest industries in New Orleans. The city has promptly responded by working with the EPA and OSHA to create training for citizens interested in assisting in the clean-up process. It is essential that everyone looking to engage in clean-up efforts is properly trained. It's ironic that BP is at the center of this unfolding tragedy, as the company is considered one of the biggest investors in alternative energy. The community is hopeful that BP will continue to work with local contractors who are assisting through our Job 1 Initiative, which is currently offering 500 jobs. I hope that we all take this opportunity to reflect on the potential that we have to diversify our energy supply through advancing clean energy technologies. We can move in a more healthy and sustainable direction through investments in solar-, wind-, hydro-power; local and organic food production; and energy efficiency measures. These green industries have the potential to create millions of jobs across the country if supported by both the public and private sectors. Just as we have recovered much of our built environment from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, we now must act strategically (and efficiently) to create a stable and self-reliant economy. This tragedy is forcing us to create solutions to addresses the concurrent issues of jobs, food and energy. A more sustainable model is in order to ensure the future prosperity of one of the nation’s most historic and culturally-rich cities.

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