Category Archives: Articles & Dossiers

In NC, dangerous delays and delusions on sea-level rise; Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey

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North Carolina, Cape Hatteras HWY12 Road Closure. Captions and Photo source: ©© Bryan Elkus

Excerpts;

Sea-level rise is upon us, and in the near future we will be forced to retreat from the shoreline…

North Carolina’s 30-year rule is simply a means to put off preparations for sea-level rise and continue with unhindered money-making activities at the beach for several decades.

The state has chosen the impossible path of holding the shoreline in place

Government is locking the next generation into a future filled with catastrophic loss of property and human lives…

Read Full Article, By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (07-09-2016)

We can’t ignore the rising sea; By Orrin H. Pilkey, Carteret County News-Times (06-18-2016)

North Carolina Sea Level: No more head-in-the-sand? Yale Climate Connections (04-09-2016)

That ‘More Realistic’ Sea-Level Report? Not Good News for NC, By Robert S. Young, Ph.D.; News Observer (05-06-2015)

Nature Confronts Politics in North Carolina; (05-26-2015)
As local politicians underestimate rising sea levels, coastal communities are coming up with their own plans…

Denying Sea-Level Rise: How 100 Centimeters Divided The State of North Carolina, By Alexander Glass and Orrin Pilkey (04-23-2013)

“North Carolina: The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

Sea Level Rise Accelerating In U.S. Atlantic Coast, USGS (06-25-2012)

North Carolina Should Move With Nature on Coast, News Observer (01-05-2015)

Sea level rise threatens U.S. historic sites, CBS News (04-13-2016)
Many of the most threatened sites in North America lie along the East Coast between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and southern Maine, where the rate of sea level rise is among the fastest in the world…

“Retreat from a Rising Sea,” A book by Orrin H. Pilkey, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, and Keith C. Pilkey

We can’t ignore the rising sea; By Orrin H. Pilkey

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Aerial pictures of North Carolina’s coast, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Photo courtesy of: © Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) / WCU

Excerpts;

North Carolinians driving to the coast now will see large numbers of dead trees on the lower most coastal plain, a reflection of rising sea level. For example, along Highway 64 on the way to Nag’s Head and along Highway 17 down east and south of Wilmington, stark trees without leaves or needles abound. The numbers of dead trees have increased greatly over the last several years, likely caused by a rising sea level pushing up the lighter fresh water that drowns the roots of these trees. At the same time, spring tide coastal flooding is steadily worsening in various coastal cities, such as Annapolis, Norfolk, Charleston, and Miami — an indication of a slowly rising sea level.

In the U.S., North Carolina stands alone in doing basically nothing of consequence in sea level rise planning and even discourages state employees from mentioning global climate change. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia are planning, as well as taking baby steps, in an effort to start responding to sea level rise. These states recognize the huge implications of the rising sea on developed shorelines.

Instead, the response of North Carolina has been to hold the shoreline in place at great cost and even encourage further development…

Read Full Article, By Dr. Orrin H. Pilkey; Carteret County News-Times (06-15-2016)

North Carolina Sea Level: No more head-in-the-sand? Yale Climate Connections (04-09-2016)

That ‘More Realistic’ Sea-Level Report? Not Good News for NC, By Robert S. Young, Ph.D.; News Observer (05-06-2015)

Nature Confronts Politics in North Carolina; (05-26-2015)
As local politicians underestimate rising sea levels, coastal communities are coming up with their own plans…

Denying Sea-Level Rise: How 100 Centimeters Divided The State of North Carolina, By Alexander Glass and Orrin Pilkey (04-23-2013)

“North Carolina: The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

Sea Level Rise Accelerating In U.S. Atlantic Coast, USGS (06-25-2012)

North Carolina Should Move With Nature on Coast, News Observer (01-05-2015)

Sea level rise threatens U.S. historic sites, CBS News (04-13-2016)
Many of the most threatened sites in North America lie along the East Coast between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and southern Maine, where the rate of sea level rise is among the fastest in the world…

“Retreat from a Rising Sea,” A book by Orrin H. Pilkey, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, and Keith C. Pilkey

Disappearing beaches: a line in the sand

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Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The forces chewing away at the nation’s beaches are only getting worse as climate change fuels rising seas…

Rob Young, a coastal geologist from the program for the study of developed shorelines at Western Carolina University, said “Coastal communities have to understand that any of the solutions that they’re thinking of to hold the beach in place for a little while are all temporary solutions…”

Read Full Article, ABC News

Seaward of Common Sense? SC Needs to Put an End to Building on the Beach; By Robert Young, PhD; The State (02-12-2015)
South Carolina’s beautiful beaches are a vital component of this state’s economy. Managing them wisely is critical to the health of the economy and to ensuring that state and local tax dollars are not wasted on futile efforts to protect homes needlessly placed in areas of obvious high hazard…

As U.S. Coastal Cities Swell, Rising Seas Threaten Millions; Climate Central (03-14-2016)
That combination of rising populations and rising seas could see millions of Americans living in homes that flood regularly during the decades ahead, according to a nationwide analysis…

Developers don’t get it: climate change means we need to retreat from the coast, Guardian UK (15-03-2016)
It is preposterous to build in areas that are bound to flood. So why are real estate companies still doing it?..

‘Nuisance Flooding’ An Increasing Problem As Coastal Sea Levels Rise, NOAA (07-28-2014)
A NOAA study looks at more than 60 years of coastal water level and local elevation data changes. Eight of the top 10 U.S. cities that have seen an increase in so-called “nuisance flooding”…

Reuters’ Water’s Edge Report Part I & Part II (09-19-2014)
Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living…

This mind-boggling study shows just how massive sea level rise really is, The Washington Post (03-12-2016)

“The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

We Need to Retreat From the Beach, An Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey

Rethinking Urban Landscapes To Adapt to Rising Sea Levels

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Venice, Italy. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

From Shanghai and Mumbai to New York and Buenos Aires, even a few feet of sea level rise threatens to flood homes and highways, inundate sewage treatment plants, and contaminate drinking water. Landscape architect Kristina Hill argues that cities need to start planning now for impacts that will happen 50 or 100 years in the future.

Hill advocates blending natural ecosystems and human-made infrastructure to help cities adjust to rising tides…

Read Full Article, Yale E360

Reuters’ Water’s Edge Report Part I & Part II (09-19-2014)
Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living…

Scientists Foresee Losses as Cities Fight Beach Erosion, Climate Central (09-14-2015)

NOAA study finds ‘living shorelines’ can lessen climate change’s effects, NOAA (12-22-2015)

Rethinking Living Shorelines, By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, and Andy Coburn;Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University, March 1, 2012, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
In response to the detrimental environmental impacts caused by traditional erosion control structures, environmental groups, state and federal resource management agencies, now advocate an approach known as “Living Shorelines”that embraces the use of natural habitat elements such as indigenous vegetation, to stabilize and protect eroding shorelines.

“The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

We Need to Retreat From the Beach, An Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey

Why Sustainability Is No Longer a Choice (Op-Ed)

wind-energy
Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Our understanding of the global climate, economic system and world has changed dramatically over the past decade. And with it, the roles and responsibilities of businesses have also changed.

But even amid this rapid disruption, there are certainties. Businesses, in agreement with scientists and national leaders, know it’s critical that we limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — or, better still, 1.5 C (2.7 F) — to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change…

Read Full Article, LiveScience

Fiji becomes first country in the world to ratify Paris agreement, Guardian UK (02-15-2016)

Iconic Refugio Beach Palms May Soon Be History

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Excerpts;

Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast, California. Statuesque palm trees lining the cove give a distinctive and majestic look to the area. But over the past few winters, those iconic palm trees have gotten closer and closer to the tide line, because of a severe lack of sand on the beach.

Waves and tides have already claimed several of the trees that were planted nearly a century ago…

Read Full Article, Noozhawk

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Protect S.C. coast: No retreat from ‘line in the sand’

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Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

South Carolina faces an historic opportunity this legislative session, with a vote on the floor likely in the coming weeks. The time could not come soon enough, as our coastal communities face record-breaking storm surges, sea level rise, and flooding events.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) designate a baseline along the coast every eight to ten years. The “line in the sand” dictates the point beyond which development cannot occur, at least for that particular cycle. Over the years, as coastal erosion has increased and the call for beach renourishment has sharpened, it has become clear that neither “renourished” beaches nor shifting shorelines make stable, smart locations for new houses…

Read Full Article, The Post and Courier

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia

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Encounter with an illegal sand miner, Mumbai.
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…” Captions and Photograph by “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac (2013).

Excerpts;

Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

Read Full Article, The Citizen

Illegal miners have field day in state, Times of India (12-25-2015)

India’s ‘New Cities’ Plan: Environment Not Included, Aljazeera (03-06-2015)
Sand – inexpensive and abundant – is a treasure to India’s builders and the construction industry, which employs some 40 million people. But the spike in construction means sand mining, both legal and illegal, will increase in coastal areas, riverbeds, creeks, and rivulets…

India’s Central Government To Take Up Illegal Sand Mining With States, India Express (10-30-2014)

Illegal Sand Mining is New Gold Rush in India, Gulf News (07-23-2013)

People on Coastline Suffering Due to Sand Mining, India; a NEWS X LIVE Video (08-19-2013)

Disappearing Beaches of India, The Hindu (06-06-2015)

The Demand for Sand is so High There are Illegal Sand Mining Operations, The Smithsonian (07-20-2015)

The Deadly Global War for Sand, WIRED (03-26-2015)

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (2013)

A UN Report On Sand Mining: “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks;” UNEP, GEA-March-2014