Protecting nature is the best way of protecting ourselves from rising tides and storm surges, according to new research.
Sand dunes, wetlands, coral reefs, mangroves, oyster beds, and other shoreline habitats that ring America help to protect two-thirds of the coastlines of the continental U.S. from hurricanes and other such hazards.
Developers see these coastal areas and think -- *ding* *ding* *ding* *ding* -- opportunity. They want to replace shoreline habitats with waterfront homes, shipping channels, highways, and other delights of urbanism and commerce, along with hulking concrete structures designed to keep the rising seas at bay.
Or, another idea would be to leave nature intact and let it continue to shelter us.
The latter approach would, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change, be the superior option for protecting lives and property in most of the nation's coastal areas.