Download Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches by Cornelia Dean PDF

By Cornelia Dean

Americans like to colonize their seashores. but if storms threaten, high-ticket beachfront building consistently takes priority over coastal environmental matters -- we rescue the structures, no longer the shorelines. As Cornelia Dean explains in opposed to the Tide, this development is resulting in the quick destruction of our coast. yet her eloquent account additionally deals sound suggestion for salvaging the stretches of pristine American shore that remain.The tale starts off with the story of the devastating typhoon that struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900 -- the deadliest ordinary catastrophe in American background, which killed a few six thousand humans. erroneous citizens developed a wall to avoid one other tragedy, however the barrier ruined the seashore and eventually destroyed the town's booming hotel enterprise. From harrowing money owed of typical mess ups to lucid ecological motives of ordinary coastal approaches, from reviews of human interference and development at the shore to clear-eyed elucidation of public coverage and conservation pursuits, this booklet illustrates in wealthy aspect the conflicting pursuits, temporary responses, and long-range imperatives which were the hallmarks of America's love affair along with her coast.Intriguing observations approximately America's seashores, prior and current, comprise discussions of storm Andrew's attack at the Gulf Coast, the 1962 northeaster that ravaged 1000 miles of the Atlantic shore, the beleaguered shorelines of recent 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 have fun with opposed to the Tide's painless path in coastal approaches and new viewpoint at the seashore.

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Additional resources for Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches

Sample text

It retains its approximate beach width and configuration, only now it is further inland. 9 Onshore winds also help islands move inland by blowing sand from the beach into the dunes and from there further inland. Sand fences that beachfront property owners use to trap sand and build protective dunes in TH E GR EAT B EAC H 23 front of their homes take advantage of this process. Even something as small as a sprig of beach grass or a tiny piece of driftwood may be enough of a barrier to trap these grains of sand and form the base of what will grow into a dune.

On the other hand, the nation’s vulnerable coastal population has increased one hundred-fold since then, so a warning that might have sufficed in 1900 would no longer give today’s coastal residents enough time to escape. Until this century, few people lived near the beach. It was just too dangerous. If they did settle along the coast, they built on high areas, well away from the water. Even Galveston’s business district and haughtiest residential streets were well away from the Gulf. Usually, the hardy few who did build near the beach lived in modest structures they could either move or lose with relative equanimity.

By four thousand years ago, when the earth’s climate more or less stabilized, the banks were under water and Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard had become islands off the coast of what we know today as Cape Cod. Since then, the earth’s climate has been more or less stable, and the sea’s rise has slowed so much that people came to assume that the bound- 22 TH E GR EAT B EAC H ary between ocean and land was more or less permanent. But it is not. Worldwide, sea level continues a slow rise. And if global warming is the problem most climatologists think it is, the rise will accelerate in the twenty-first century.

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