cover image The Rising Sea

The Rising Sea

Orrin H. Pilkey, Author, Rob Young, Author Shearwater Books $25.95 (203p) ISBN 978-1-59726-191-3

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.