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The Rising Sea
Synopses & Reviews
On Shishmaref Island in Alaska, homes are being washed into the sea. In the South Pacific, small island nations face annihilation by encroaching waters. In coastal Louisiana, an area the size of a football field disappears every day. For these communities, sea level rise isnt a distant, abstract fear: its happening now and its threatening their way of life.
In The Rising Sea, Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young warn that many other coastal areas may be close behind. Prominent scientists predict that the oceans may rise by as much as seven feet in the next hundred years. That means coastal cities will be forced to construct dikes and seawalls or to move buildings, roads, pipelines, and railroads to avert inundation and destruction.
The question is no longer whether climate change is causing the oceans to swell, but by how much and how quickly. Pilkey and Young deftly guide readers through the science, explaining the facts and debunking the claims of industry-sponsored “skeptics.” They also explore the consequences for fish, wildlife—and people.
While rising seas are now inevitable, we are far from helpless. By making hard choices—including uprooting citizens, changing where and how we build, and developing a coordinated national response—we can save property, and ultimately lives. With unassailable research and practical insights, The Rising Sea is a critical first step in understanding the threat and keeping our heads above water.
"Veteran academics Pilkey (The Corps and the Shore) and Young (a geoscientist and Pilkey's former student) team up to offer a rational approach to inevitably rising sea levels over the next century, an unprecedented problem for human civilization: for the first time a densely developed shoreline is putting the ways of life of millions of people at risk.' Even with a significant reduction in carbon emissions, sea levels will continue to rise and, combined with increasingly severe storms, force a retreat from the shoreline. Thus, the authors make a strong case for an immediate halt to high-rise construction 'in areas vulnerable to future sea level rise' coupled with the relocation of buildings and infrastructure, to be executed 'when major maintenance is needed.' Simultaneously, steps should be taken to protect coastal marshes, mangroves and especially coral reefs ('the most biologically diverse environments in the modern ocean'). Pilkey and Young make short work of costly plans like sea walls and artificial beaches, with provide no long-term protection. Pilkey and Young's balanced, optimistic perspective on the tough decisions that lie ahead should garner interest from policy makers and real estate developers as well as environmentalists." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
While rising seas are now inevitable, we are far from helpless. By making hard choices—including uprooting citizens, changing where and how we build, and developing a coordinated national response—we can save property, and ultimately lives. With unassailable research and practical insights, The Rising Sea is a critical first step in understanding the threat and keeping our heads
While rising seas are now inevitable, we
About the Author
Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor of Geology Emeritus in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, author of The Corps and the Shore, and editor of the twenty-volume series Living with the Shore.
Rob Young is the director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines and professor of geosciences at Western Carolina University.
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