Don’t miss world-renowned Coastal Geologist Dr. Robert Youngspeaking to us in Newburyport this Wednesday. He will discuss our national policy regarding coastal hazards and sea level rise and the costs and consequences of holding our shorelines in place by engineering our beaches in the face of climate change.
There are often narrow windows of opportunity to effect political and social change after notable events. Following Hurricane Sandy, the United States missed one such opportunity. Instead of stepping back and considering formulating a national plan for coastal management, adaptation, and storm recovery, The United States chose to ignore climate change and future vulnerability and hold the U.S. shoreline in place. Dr. Young comments, “We have no national plan or national vision for how we should be responding to storms, how we should be rebuilding after storms in a sensible way, how we should be spending federal dollars to provide coastal protection through beach nourishment and dune building projects.” This effort has come at great expense to the federal taxpayer, the environment, and the federally subsidized flood insurance program. Dr. Young raises the question: “Can we afford to continue doing this, and what will it take to change our behavior?”
Professor Robert Young is the Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS), a joint Duke University/Western Carolina University venture. He is also a Professor of Geosciences at Western Carolina University and a licensed professional geologist in three states (FL, NC, SC).
PSDS is a research and policy outreach center serving the global coastal community. The center’s mission is to conduct and translate scientific research of coastal processes, storm impacts, and sea level rise into management and policy recommendations. The Program specializes in evaluating the design and implementation of coastal engineering projects and helping communities develop coastal adaptation strategies. Dr. Young oversees more than $3.5 Million in Coastal Science research projects. He is a member of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel and South Carolina Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Fulbright Scholar.
Young is a frequent contributor to popular media. He appeared in the acclaimed documentary“Shored Up” as well as on programs such as PBS News Hour, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, National Public Radio, and many others. He has written many articles and also been quoted by many news sources, including the New York Times, USA Today, the Architectural Record, the Houston Chronicle, the Raleigh News and Observer, and most recently Boston Magazine. He is a co-author of The Rising Sea (2009) and co-editor of Geologic Monitoring (2009). Dr. Young has also testified before congress and numerous state legislatures on coastal issues.