By Cornelia Dean
American citizens like to colonize their seashores. but if storms threaten, high-ticket beachfront development consistently takes priority over coastal environmental matters -- we rescue the structures, now not the shores. As Cornelia Dean explains in opposed to the Tide, this trend is resulting in the quick destruction of our coast. yet her eloquent account additionally bargains sound suggestion for salvaging the stretches of pristine American shore that remain.The tale starts off with the story of the devastating storm that struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900 -- the deadliest typical catastrophe in American background, which killed a few six thousand humans. faulty citizens built a wall to avoid one other tragedy, however the barrier ruined the seashore and finally destroyed the town's booming inn company. From harrowing debts of average failures to lucid ecological causes of traditional coastal techniques, from experiences of human interference and building at the shore to clear-eyed elucidation of public coverage and conservation pursuits, this ebook illustrates in wealthy aspect the conflicting pursuits, non permanent responses, and long-range imperatives which were the hallmarks of America's love affair together with her coast.Intriguing observations approximately America's shorelines, previous and current, contain discussions of storm Andrew's attack at the Gulf Coast, the 1962 northeaster that ravaged 1000 miles of the Atlantic shore, the beleaguered shores of latest Jersey and North Carolina's speedily vanishing Outer Banks, and the sand-starved coast of southern California. Dean offers dozens of examples of human makes an attempt to tame the sea -- in addition to a wealth of lucid descriptions of the ocean's counterattack. Readers will relish opposed to the Tide's painless direction in coastal approaches and new point of view at the seashore.
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Extra resources for Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches
But with the bluff edge retreating more than two feet a year, the seaside path he walked is now probably hundreds of feet offshore. Thoreau himself realized what was happening in the geology under his feet. “Anything built on top of the cliff is doomed,” he wrote in Cape Cod. At the Woods Hole gathering, Leatherman spoke of the futility of trying to maintain stability in such an unstable situation. “Our system is based on the assumption of static equilibrium,” he said. “But there is no stasis at the shoreline.
When the earth is warm the seas are high. In fact, the seas once reached well into the United States, gnawing away at the land far into the Appalachian plateau. Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, and other modern cities are, in their way, evidence of this geological past. They were built to capitalize on waterpower at the fall line, the boundary where the rivers of the plateau fall away to the broad Atlantic coastal plain, washed almost flat by the wave action of ancient times. 8 When the earth cools, however, and more of the earth’s water is frozen up in spreading glaciers and ice sheets, the sea falls away.
In the ensuing decade, the problems of coastal erosion only worsened as development accelerated at the beach. Many scientists at Woods Hole said the meeting itself testified to their failure to educate the people who make coastal policy. “It seems to take natural disasters to focus people’s attention on the coast,” Leatherman said gloomily, as he showed the group slides of a motel under construction at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, yards away from the storm-wrecked remains of another building, there on the eroding beach.