Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc.

A new book written by an American geologist and an Irish professor of coastal studies argues that the world’s beaches are at risk of extinction.

last beach‘The Last Beach’, by Orrin Pilkey, a geologist at Duke University in the US, and J. Andrew G. Cooper, a professor of coastal studies at the University of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, warns that as the oceans warm and sea levels rise, attempts by communities to protect their shorelines are having the opposite effect.

In a review of the book in ‘Salon’ magazine the authors note that while the beaches themselves can withstand extreme weather, it is the attempts by humans to secure them in place, through techno-fixes such as seawalls and beach replenishment, that ironically will end up destroying them.

Sooner or later, Orrin Pilkey argues, people will be forced to retreat. The question he poses is whether there’ll be any beach left by then. The authors argue that in future beaches will be replaced in developed areas by seawalls and that natural beaches will only be found in remote locations and on national seashores.

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