Alana Paul, Tulane Office of Environmental Affairs
Thursday, 3 Oct 2002
NEW ORLEANS, La.
Today was going to be a pretty busy day for me regarding the Ecolympics. The university’s publicity photographer, Paula Burch, was supposed to take pictures of the new Energy Star Showcase Dorm Room at 12:30. I then planned on touring residence hall electricity-metering systems with the representative from Finnin & Associates who meters them. I was to end the night with my very last RA meeting at one of the biggest residence halls on campus. I was also planning to put up bulletin-board presentations on the Ecolympics and global climate change around this entire quad. This was all part of the plan …
But another hurricane came in this week, once again delaying the Ecolympics schedule I had planned last month. Hurricane Lili struck Louisiana’s coast today as a Category 2 storm. Though flooding in New Orleans was not nearly as bad as it could have been, the threat was still there, and other surrounding cities were hit hard. It is scary how every hurricane or tropical storm threatens to wash away more and more of Louisiana’s coastline, not to mention one of its most popular and classic cities. Most of New Orleans is two feet below sea level — the city is like a bowl just waiting to be filled with water from the next big storm.
You can see the shock on students’ faces when they make the connection between global climate change, rising sea levels, and New Orleans becoming the next underwater city. What happens when you graduate and then years later the school from which you got your degree is underwater — does it still mean anything? These last two hurricanes have just been teasing us, but how much longer can this game last before our city is completely wiped out by water?
Not even Hurricane Lili can stop me from working on the Ecolympics, though. I am really hoping we will see a positive change in energy use as a result of this competition. I secured another motivational prize for the RAs — a free instructional program at our student fitness center, with at least a $50 value. Hopefully, I can convince local restaurants to donate gift certificates in conjunction with these other prizes, as no student can resist free food. Tomorrow we should have classes again, so I’ll let you know how I’m going to get Ecolympics back on track. I have planned many events throughout the month, and you’ll get to hear all about them tomorrow. Ciao for now!