Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I have had a blog on coastal policy since the discovery of sea grass! We have had lots of great academic discussions about saving Manatees - they are cute and prehistoric, shark finning and Asian culture (they like exotic foods like shark fin soup), whether renourishing beaches is a good idea (the sand is so hard & packed that critters cannot dig into and live in that hard surface.

All of these have been rewarding, fun, and academically sound.

All that changed after the killer hurricanes slam banged the Gulf coast of the US, Fllorida, and after the Indian Ocean Tsunami killed and wreaked such havoc.

We now understand that the coastal zone is a fragile and highly exposed feature of the earth. In fact, think of the coasts along any continent as the place where everything is rising, sinking, crunching and grinding. Yes, the coast is, of course, the shifting edge of the ever floating continents.

Oops, now I've done it!

Many of my students don't like to think about the coast as an unstanble, dangerous, and shifty place. (It has always been that). Many prefer to think of those marshet and wetlands, the wind and waves gently shifting dunes, the reefs and off-shore structures as permenent and conservational. To think of them as very unstable and subject to both natural and human reshaping is disturbing.

Now after seeing what humand and nature together can do to a coastal zone (the replumbing and dredging of the Mississippi River, the oild and gas drilling, the building of levies, the entire mess) we all need to reassess.

On the other hand, coastal policy and coastal zone management as critically important national policy issue no longer has to be explained or justified!

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