It’s been over a year since BP destroyed a way of life in South Louisiana and created the largest ecological disaster in human history. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created a video talking about the damage from that spill that was not immediately obvious and they touch on what we need to do going forward.
Louisiana has a unique landscape that has an ecological diversity that is unwatched by most places in the world. 450 species of birds can be found here and we are one of the premier birding destinations in the US for that very reason. In 2006 the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that bird watchers contributed 36 Billion dollars to the US Economy. The spend this on bird seed, travelling, binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides, and other gear. In the research I’ve read, the demographic data on birders shows that most are over 50 (baby boomers), have advanced degrees, and earn $75K+/year or more. A tourism marketing board couldn’t create a better market.
I think Louisiana’s residents need to push their elected officials to move away from oil production and transition our economy to greener options (wind power, wave power, underwater turbines). We also need to culitvate our natural resources and continue to attract birdwatchers, hunters, and fisherman. Yes, I said hunters. The money from hunting licenses and taxes on ammunition sales is the number one source of the money being used to protect and manage wild areas. If you are a bird watcher spend $15 and buy a duck stamp and contribute to conservation efforts with your own dollars.