US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Social Justice and Mobility in Coastal Louisiana, USA

Feb 21, 2017

Louisiana faces extensive coastal land loss which threatens the livelihoods of marginalized populations. These groups have endured extreme disruptive events in the past and have survived in the region by relying on several resilient practices, including mobility. Facing environmental changes that will be wrought by deliberate coastal restoration programs, elderly residents are resisting migration while younger residents continue a decades-long inland migration. Interviews and historical records illustrate a complex intersection of resilient practices and environmental migration. The process underway conflicts to some extent with prevailing concepts in environmental migration most notably deviating from established migration patterns. In terms of social justice, selective out-migration of younger adults leaves a more vulnerable population behind, but also provides a supplementary source of income and social links to inland locales. Organized resistance to restoration projects represents a social justice response to programs that threaten the resource-based livelihoods of coastal residents while offering protection to safer inland urban residents.