State of the Beach – NJ “Failing” on Coastal Ecosystem Resilience

by Nicole Wines

Photo by DVIDSHUB on Flickr

When it comes to protecting coastal communities and preparing for resiliency in the face of climate change, our home state of NJ has fallen behind our neighboring coastal states, according to Surfrider Foundation’s 2018  “State of the Beach Report Card”. This report gives NJ a failing grade due to “inadequate protection of coastal communities and resources.” Although NJ launched its “Coastal Resilience Plan” back in October, it is obvious that there is still more to be done.

For me, it needs to go farther than just designing and following resilience plans. At the core of the issue, is the idea that coastal ecosystems are constantly in flux, and that they exist for a number of reasons, including the protection of inland areas. We will not stop climate change, we will not successfully control mother nature. In my mind, the recommendations for adaptation need to go radically further.

Instead of rebuilding and protecting coastal areas to allow for the continued overdevelopment of this kind of ecosystem, this is the time to think about ending coastal development and retreating inland. Coastal areas can be enjoyed for recreational use without being overdeveloped, and allowed to shift with the changes of nature. But even the idea of coastal tourism needs to be examined, as it has huge impacts on ocean and coastal ecosystems.

Instead of placing the maximum profit and development as our highest priority, we need to put our ecosystems and our home planet as the highest priority. We need to become an EcoCentric culture, in order to adapt to the changes that are coming and those that are already happening. There is no time for baby steps, there is no time to wait. The time is now to change the story, shift our values, and dedicate ourselves to the protection of our home planet, before it shakes us off like fleas!

What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comment section below!

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