The sea close to land is far more important both for biodiversity and protection against rising seas and storm surges than previously thought
We must think beyond the water’s edge
Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, DrawnJournalism.com
The coastal areas are too often impoverished, plundered and much more dead than they should be
For hundreds of years, we have fetched stones and gravel from the sea. And at the same time increasingly large amounts of nutrients and waste has been discharged out in fjords, through our waterways and along our coasts.
commercial fishing gear has torn up the bottom and lack of oxygen, heavy metals, pesticides and medicine waste have created further chaos in the marine life.
Something is improving, but in general it is a sad and gloomy story, which is now finally taking a new turn, as rising seas and storm surges have forced us to rethink our relationship with the areas just outside our coastline.
Mangroves and rock reefs can be re-established, and eelgrass, seaweed and mussel banks can be helped when we create new habitats such as mosaics of rock reefs, sandbanks and new plantings.
There are plans for new marine protection parks. And it’s not just biodiversity that benefits. The protected and improved conditions for biodiversity can help fish-stock recover, with great benefits to local fishermen, families and tourists.
The solutions can also help to reduce erosion from storm surges and the waves, as their destructive energy, instead of reaching land, helps oxygen and life in shallow water.
The nature based designs in shallow water, to help reduce the impact of sea level rise and storm surges, are among the newest tools against sea level rise, and are being intensively researched over most of the world
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Keywords: Rising seas, sea level rise, climate change, global warming, climate crises, drawnjournalism, visual journalism, illustration, drawing, news, tegnet journalistik, drawn journalism havstigning havstigning2023conf01