Keeping Louisiana’s head above water

On this week’s episode of Work Green, Earn Green, host Jay Tipton sets sail to Louisiana, where he discovers that the very same waters that have helped blessed the state’s fishing and shipping industries are also cause for serious concern. From coastal erosion and groundwater contamination to disaster recovery, Jay explores the green jobs that are contributing to the state’s resiliency.

From the Mississippi River to the Cajun Bayou, Louisiana is a state renowned for its close connection to water. While the gulf coast has blessed Louisianans with ample resources to develop robust seafood, shrimping, and shipping industries, it also comes with some troubling downsides. However, resilient Louisianans are finding green solutions to keep their blues at bay.

To kick things off, Jay hears from nationally recognized expert in coastal policy Justin Ehrenwerth about how the Mississippi delta is losing land by the minute, and how coastal restoration projects may hold the key to rebuilding what has been washed out to sea. Next, Jay talks to water resource engineer Bob Jacobsen about the jobs associated with observing and monitoring groundwater levels in order to preserve Louisiana’s clean water supply. From there, Jay chats with Jessica Dandridge, Executive Director of the Water Collective, about the boom that green infrastructure businesses have experienced in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which decimated Louisiana’s fragile water infrastructure.

While on the subject of hurricanes, Jay reaches out to resiliency expert Camille Manning-Broome for clarity on whether disaster relief and recovery jobs can be considered green. Her answer leads him to a local contractor, Kendra Graves, whose life changed after a burst pipe in her home inspired her to enroll in an environmental career training program. She speaks candidly to Jay about how this decision enabled her to start her own business helping others recover from water damage and flooding.

Before hitting the road again, Jay speaks to Sunny Dawn Summers and Mervin Smith, co-founding leader and graduating senior, respectively, at New Harmony High School to see how environmental education is informing the next generation of workers about Louisiana’s water woes and priming them to find solutions.

: Jay Tipton, Justin Ehrenwerth, Paula DiPerna, Bob Jacobsen, Jessica Dandridge, Camille Manning-Broome, Kendra Graves, Sunny Dawn Summers, Mervin Smith
Produced by: Alicia Clark
Executive Produced by: Melissa Panzer, Joan Lynch, Art Bilger
Written by: Jay Tipton, Alicia Clark, Mike Zunic
Edited and Sound Mixed by: Lynz Floren
Music by: Avocado Junkie
Made possible by: the Walton Family Foundation

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