Aware of our call to care for the creation entrusted to us, LCWR members will promote federal and local legislation which is directed to preserving and renewing America’s wetlands and coastal regions and to strengthening Louisiana levees to sustain a category 5 hurricane.
The LCWR Call for 2004-2009 expresses our consciousness that environmental degradation threatens all of God’s creation, that people are awakening to the wonder and fragility of our universe and the place of humans within it, and that today’s leaders are experiencing the pressing impact of a rapidly evolving world and universe. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have dramatically highlighted this consciousness and the urgency of our call to respond. A continuing theme of Catholic Social Teaching is that care for this earth is a form of participating in God’s act of creating and sustaining the world. The theme of our assembly this year invites us to pay attention to the frontier, a “place of wilderness at the edge of a settled land.” America’s wetlands and coasts are those physical places of wilderness that require our present attention.
BACKGROUND: Why should we care?
All wetlands serve important functions:
- Preservation of water quality
- Mitigation of local flooding
- Genetic bank of species diversity
- Basis of food chains and breeding grounds for many open-water fish
What’s happening to Louisiana is an illustration of devastating effects of wetland destruction:
- Coastal Louisiana has been branded as America’s WETLAND due to its vital importance to the well being of the United States.
- “Wetland Loss” is the conversion of vegetated wetlands to open water.
- 1900 square miles (1.2 million acres), approximately the size of Delaware has been lost since 1932.
- The loss from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was 218 square miles of vegetated marsh.
- America’s WETLAND is losing about 10.3 square miles of vegetated wetlands per year.