Nature's got your back

If you live by or have visited the coast you have probably noticed man made attempts at protecting coastal residents from rough seas and rogue waves. Breakwaters and seawalls do a good job of defending seaside residents from stormy weather, but what about nature’s natural protection of its coastal inhabitants? Stanford University in conjunction with The Natural Capital Project released a study on July 15, 2013 that examined how well nature is protecting coastal residents from rising sea levels and incoming storms. Sand dunes, mangrove forests, coral reefs, and sea grasses are examples of natural coastline protection. It turns out many of these natural protection sites are in a poor state. The good news is: the Obama administration is planning to take action.
The Stanford study marks the first time that a complete map has depicted all US coasts and their level of protection from the ocean by Mother Nature. The map itself is interactive and fun, but the information it presents is less than settling. Degradation of our coastal environments, caused by rising sea levels and increased frequency of severe storms, is putting seaside residents at great risk of personal and property damage. “The natural environment plays a key role in protecting our nation’s coasts,” said Dr. Katie Arkema, scientist with the Natural Capital Project and study lead author. “If we lose these defenses, we will either have to have massive investments in engineered defenses or risk greater damage to millions of people and billions in property.”
The tattered condition of US coastlines is nothing new, and this story of environmental deterioration actually ends with policy makers taking initial steps toward revitalization. On June 25, 2013 the Obama administration released the Climate Action Plan, a three pillared strategy to environmental policy that will cut carbon pollution in America, prepare the US for the impacts of climate change, and will put the US in place to lead international efforts to combat global climate change. The Climate Action Plan revitalizes government interest in the health of our nation’s coasts, and should be a start in effectively repairing coastlines around the US.
Photo: flickr.com/Kiama Library

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Nature's got your back

If you live by or have visited the coast you have probably noticed man made attempts at protecting coastal residents from rough seas and rogue waves. Breakwaters and seawalls do a good job of defending seaside residents from stormy weather, but what about nature’s natural protection of its coastal inhabitants? Stanford University in conjunction with The Natural Capital Project released a study on July 15, 2013 that examined how well nature is protecting coastal residents from rising sea levels and incoming storms. Sand dunes, mangrove forests, coral reefs, and sea grasses are examples of natural coastline protection. It turns out many of these natural protection sites are in a poor state. The good news is: the Obama administration is planning to take action.
The Stanford study marks the first time that a complete map has depicted all US coasts and their level of protection from the ocean by Mother Nature. The map itself is interactive and fun, but the information it presents is less than settling. Degradation of our coastal environments, caused by rising sea levels and increased frequency of severe storms, is putting seaside residents at great risk of personal and property damage. “The natural environment plays a key role in protecting our nation’s coasts,” said Dr. Katie Arkema, scientist with the Natural Capital Project and study lead author. “If we lose these defenses, we will either have to have massive investments in engineered defenses or risk greater damage to millions of people and billions in property.”
The tattered condition of US coastlines is nothing new, and this story of environmental deterioration actually ends with policy makers taking initial steps toward revitalization. On June 25, 2013 the Obama administration released the Climate Action Plan, a three pillared strategy to environmental policy that will cut carbon pollution in America, prepare the US for the impacts of climate change, and will put the US in place to lead international efforts to combat global climate change. The Climate Action Plan revitalizes government interest in the health of our nation’s coasts, and should be a start in effectively repairing coastlines around the US.
Photo: flickr.com/Kiama Library

Solution News Source

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