July's National Geographic magazine had a feature story on the increasing degradation of our nation's coasts, particularly in light of the impending boomer retirement.
Today's NYTimes had an article about climate researchers who disagree on the importance of human-caused climate change in hurricane trends, but who all agree that our country is building too much too fast on the coasts. These trends are encouraged by friendly disaster insurance created through political pressure.
This isn't neuroscience, theoretical ecology, rocket science, or even a challenging rubik's cube. This is straightforward: our coasts are important, and they are delicate.
As the interface between two ecosystems - terrestrial and aquatic - our coasts are critically important for our ecological health (remember, we are part of these ecosystems just as much as seaweed, horseshoe crabs, squirrels and beetles). The coasts are also extremely dynamic...a simple example: beaches are supposed to be destroyed during storms, a process balanced by slow rebuilding during times of gentle wave action.
Human construction to interrupt natural processes like beach building, tidal movement, wetland migration, barrier island formation, etc, is going to screw up the coast. No two ways about it. We need to get serious about mitigating our coastal damage, and being thoughtful about new construction.