Alligator Podcast: Climate and Coastal Journalist Bob Marshall

Bob Marshall is Louisiana’s pre-immanent coastal and climate journalist. He’s won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting on issues related to Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. Most of his professional career was spent at the Times-Picayune before they changed their mission and scope. Since then, Marshall has worked at The Lens, a web-based, non-profit investigative journalism publication based in New Orleans. There, Marshall has continued to write about issues affecting Louisiana and its coast and been able to partner with other publications to find wider audiences for his work.

On May 1 of this year, The Advocate ran Marshall’s story on how new climate science on sea level rise was forcing a major revision of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority‘s coastal master plan. As Marshall explained in this interview, the original and second iterations of the coastal master plan worked under the assumption that sea level rise would occur at moderate rates. What he reported in his May story was that new science indicated that sea level rise would occur at rates that had been considered extreme in earlier years.

In our conversation, we discussed the fact that Louisiana’s political class remains generally staunchly dismissive of climate change and its causes. This creates a dilemma since the Grand Isle and southeast Louisiana have been tagged by NOAA as the place in North America most at risk to the impact of rising sea levels and sinking land.

We also talked about where the funding for the evolving coastal master plan — the price tag for which keeps rising as conditions on what was once the ground deteriorate — might come.

In the podcast only segment, we discuss how Bob’s roots as an outdoorsman and the Times-Picayune’s desire to cater to the market of hunters, fishermen, and others who use the outdoors as their venue of choice for recreation provided a unique perspective and platform for the climate reporting that has come to define his career.

Hope you enjoy it. Support Bob’s work at The Lens by making a tax-deductible contribution here.

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