The Estuarine characters representing America’s WETLAND marched again this Mardi Gras in Endymion, Bacchus, Orpheus, and Rex to raise public awareness of the immense impact of Louisiana’s wetland loss to the environment and the economy on local and global scales. This is their third year marching in Mardi Gras parades.
The Estuarians: Reed the Reptile, Pierre the Pelican, Delta the Dolphin, and Captain Eddy the Eagle, threw collectable America’s WETLAND bracelets to cheering crowds along parade routes, paused for pictures with revelers, and danced with children. Parade-goers wholeheartedly applauded America’s WETLAND’s efforts and shouted “Save our wetlands,” above the Mardi Gras din.
At several stops along parade routes, hoards of children spontaneously gathered to carry the America’s WETLAND banner. Parents often approached America’s WETLAND representative handlers to express their appreciation for America’s WETLAND reaching out to children and raising environmental awareness in subsequent generations.
The America’s WETLAND Campaign, the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in the State’s history, was launched to raise public awareness of the impact of Louisiana’s wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought the issue of Louisiana’s coastal land loss to the international stage. America’s WETLAND in coastal Louisiana, one of the largest estuaries and seventh largest delta in the world is a place of world ecological significance – home to 79 rare, threatened, and endangered species and wintering habitat for more than 5 million waterfowl and songbirds – is vanishing. The area loses 24 square miles a year, or the equivalent of a football field every 38 minutes. Almost one-third of the nation’s seafood comes from Louisiana’s wetlands. In addition, America’s WETLAND is the nation’s most important petrochemical complex and is vital to America’s economic and energy security, as it produces and transports 30 percent of the nation’s domestic crude oil and 34 percent of its natural gas. It also refines 16 percent of America’s petroleum.