As an historian who has worked mostly in the 17th century it is a little unreal to find something you have written about in the daily newspapers. It happened once before when I wrote about piracy and suddenly Somalian piracy became a problem. But that has been it. Everything else has remained uncommented upon in any contemporary source. So surprise here comes the Lure of the Beach and the two final chapters on access and sea level rise. One of these feeds the other as sea level rise means abandoning beaches and that makes access even a bigger problem. However, first–sea level rise. When I was doing the research a few years back there was no doubt in the science literature that sea level rise was already underway and having an impact on many places. Today there is a United Nations Congress at work on climate change one of the main impacts of which is on Oceans. I am sure there are still dark areas of the American right–including one ex-president who will be personally impacted by sea level rise–that deny climate change and the consequences that we face. Otherwise it is taken as a given by more and more people that the oceans will rise and there will be consequences. Even bureaucracies have taken notice with the American Federal government beginning the consider pulling insurance from threatened properties whether on rivers or beaches. It is this federal guaranty that causes people to build and rebuild on endangered land or sand. Without this insurance it becomes difficult to get a mortgage to build in the first place and no insurance would leave only those with considerable resources building on the beach who could afford the loss of their building. As the certainty of sea level rise continues that also effects access. More and more states are beginning to consider some form of “managed retreat.” This will mean forcing communities to surrender to the ocean and abandon sea side properties. No doubt this will cause great battles but in the end as the water rises surrender will be the only course but getting people to do it ahead of time may be rational but nevertheless emotional.
So I find myself having written something that is now in public discussion almost daily. The 17th century was safer and quieter but not as much fun.