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Healing Journey Goes to the Gulf

National Geographic Education Fellows Jon Waterhouse and John Francis will gather firsthand accounts of life on the Louisiana coast long after Hurricane Katrina and soon after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Wherever you live, ideas you send their way over the next week could help shape environmental policy across the North American continent.

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By Jon Waterhouse

UPDATE: Follow the JPAC Public Forum live from New Orleans online November 16 and 17, 2010.

Planetwalker John Francis and I, both National Geographic Education Fellows, are going to New Orleans next week to listen to local people about the challenges they’ve experienced and continue to face related to Hurricane Katrina and the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.

We will travel the area to gather stories “from the street” of the effects of these two major catastrophes, beyond what’s been reported in the news or by the government.

We’ll spend some of our time in New Orleans at a Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) meeting to offer thoughts on the “Greening of the North American Economy.” The CEC, created along with the North American Free Trade Agreement 17 years ago, exists to help Canada, Mexico, and the United States work together to address regional environmental concerns and promote the enforcement of environmental law. President Obama appointed me to the JPAC in June 2010.

Our question to you is this: If you could advise U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, David McGovern of the Canadian Environment Ministry, and Mexican Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada on better ways of greening the North American economy, what would you say?

We will faithfully report any constructive ideas you share with us, so post your thoughts here on the News Watch blog as comments, tweet them with hashtag #healingjourney, or add them to the Nat Geo News Watch Facebook page. Follow my and John’s updates from Louisiana here on the News Watch blog.

Photograph of Jon Waterhouse and John Francis courtesy Jon Waterhouse

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