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This Shrinking Land: Climate Change and Britain's Coasts

By: Robert Duck

208 pages, Col photos, maps, figs, tabs

Dundee University

Paperback | May 2011 | #191472 | ISBN-13: 9781845861186
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NHBS Price: £19.99 $25/€22 approx

About this book

The oceans are the graveyards of the lands. Lands become eaten away by the action of the seas and it is no surprise to find that most of the world's shorelines are in a state of erosion. The fringes of Britain, the cliffs and beaches are shrinking, disappearing back into the surrounding sea. But why? Is climate change quickening the process, are our homes and villages, our towns, at risk? This book examines how the British coast is changing and why - and what is being done to protect us all. Are we doing enough about it? Can we do anything about it? Should we be doing anything more about it than we are doing already? Should we abandon vulnerable towns and villages to the sea as did our forebears and relocate coastal settlements inland?

These are some of the tricky, thorny and potentially emotive questions that this book explores. Blending contemporary earth science and societal themes with the historical and cultural records and, for good measure, just a hint of myth and romance for seasoning, `This Shrinking Land' is a fascinating study of the future of Britain's coasts on the basis of the past.

This is a wee gem of a book, which twinkles with poignant historical vignettes that recast our scientific understanding of coastlines as essential human stories about our island nation's turbulent relationship with sea-level change - past, present, and future. Wonderful stuff. --Prof Iain Stewart, author of Making Scotland's Landscape


1.Climate change and sea level rise: is there a problem in Britain?
2.Cooling and warming
3.Enemy and friend: destruction, construction and seduction
4.Was King Canute right? Can we hold back the sea?
5.Why are the coasts in North West Scotland not like those in South East England?
6.Lessons from the past: what can we learn that will help coastal zone management?
7.Is my house with it's sea view safe? What does the future hold?

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Rob Duck is Dean of the School of the Environment and Professor of Environmental Geoscience in the University of Dundee. An expert on coasts and estuaries, with over 100 published works to his name, Rob has made a career-long commitment to furthering the public understanding of science.

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