Britain's Coastal Catastrophe
Challenging and controversial investigation of our changing relationship with the sea and our coastline.
We have a special relationship with the sea. It is the single most powerful driver of our economy, our lifestyle and our politics. It affects what we eat, how we use the land, how we relate to our neighbours, how we travel, even the thickness of our coats. Yet we go on treating it, with childlike faith and unreason, as if we imagine it to be infinitely resourceful and endlessly forgiving. Sea Change addresses such issues as pollution by sewage, nuclear waste and dumping at sea; extinction of fish stocks; destruction of marine environment, impacts of climate change, coastal erosion and rising sea levels; decline of our seaside resorts; the failure of the 'integrated transport policy';and smuggling. In each case Girling questions: how did the situation arise? What are the consequences? What should be done? And what will happen when we fail? His unique voice blends horror, humour and 'just fancy that'; sifting for solutions in the sands, he is utterly compelling, entertaining and inspirational.
“This is a vivid and devastating account of the decline and fall of the precious waters lapping our coasts . . . [Girling] is an extremely good writer . . . he also manages to weave a wonderfully dry humour into the long and sorry catalogue of generations of neglect and short-sightedness . . . This is a book to make you think.”
“Anyone who cares about the coast should read this book - before it is too late.”
“Scarcely pausing for one slow and adoring gaze across the Norfolk coast he loves, Richard Girling plunges off from the first page into the most brilliant and devastating attack yet written on bungling, political weakness, incompetence and sheer slowness of those who are meant to be in charge of the seas around our shores.”
Adam Nicolson, Evening Standard
“Richard Girling calls the sea our civilisation's "amniotic fluid". His story of its violation by oil pollution, over-fishing, climate-change-driven erosion and our belief that we have the wisdom to "manage" the marine environment is shocking. It's a story of arrogance, ignorance and greed, and in Girling's electrifying prose it becomes a parable of wilful matricide.”
“For centuries our sea, less our lands, was what characterised us as a people. Now we fly over it, seek it less for work and play, and fail to recognise that it is in crisis. Richard Girling's wonderfully informed, hard hitting and inspired account of what is happening on our shoreline shatters this ignorance. Sea Change is a book which seems to be energised by the ocean itself and one which could bring us back - just in time - to face the gains and losses of our coast.”
Ronald Blythe, author of AKENFIELD
“Girling pulls no punches in this passionate and blackly witty expose of the problems that face us . . . We can only hope that Girling's eloquent analysis of what is wrong might affect the decisions to be made.”
CULTURE magazine, Sunday Times