Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stop trying to fight Mother Nature - let the ocean move beaches naturally

Everybody likes a nice beach and wants to live or at least play "on the shore", but I think we've gone way too far trying to "fight the sea" and artificially preserve coastal areas which the ocean seeks to "take back." It goes by the bureaucratic sounding term "beach replenishment", which sounds like a good thing, but in fact is a very bad idea. Anybody who has even an ounce of concern for the environment should readily concede that only the ocean itself should be the final moderator of the location and character of beaches. Not the city council, not landowners, not neighborhood groups, and not so-called environmental "conservation" groups.

I am writing this post in response to reading an article in The New York Times by Cornelia Dean entitled "Wealthy Stake $25 Million in a War With the Sea" which describes the extreme efforts to "save" shore properties on Nantucket island off Massachusetts.

Beaches normally only exist where the ocean has seen fit to deposit them. The ocean moves beaches as it sees fit. And, sometimes, the ocean removes beachs entirely and that is not an entirely "bad" thing. There are plenty of scenic shore areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and even Massachusetts where not even a single grain of sand can be seen. Sometimes entire enlands appear and then disappear.

If tourists want beaches, which is a perfectly fine thing, they can easily go to where the ocean has placed them. No problem there. The problem comes when coastal property owners and various "civic" groups think they they have some special right to force beaches to exist where and in a way that is not natural. Shame on them for thinking that they can own beaches or even the shoreline itself.

If it was up to me, I would absolutely ban "ownership" of coastal regions (the mile or two strip of land along the coastal waters), but clearly that is not an option in today's social and political environment. Instead, we should have conditional ownership that exists only to the extent that the "owner" does not interfere with the natural evolution of the shoreline and beaches and related environs (dunes, marshes, etc.)

Please, please, please, let the ocean do its thing and stop trying to interfere in one of the most natural processes in existence.

Stop trying to fight Mother Nature.

-- Jack Krupansky


At 5:11 PM , Blogger Lee Devlin said...

If you think fighting Mother Nature is insane in coastal areas, then you'll really appreciate the notion of National Flood Insurance, where taxpayers subsidize insurance costs for the super wealthy who build houses on both coasts. Read John Stossel's take on it here:


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