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Articles by Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski blogs about animals and other weird and wonderful life for Science News magazine. Follow her on Twitter.

Featured Article

The Canadian couple on my television screen tours a small home on the north shore of the Dominican Republic. The couple, on HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt, are hoping to buy a vacation home for $300,000 or less — something in a secure neighborhood and with an ocean view. This home looks ideal, with a modern kitchen and infinity pool, the back gate just feet from the ocean.

What’s never mentioned are the piles of sandbags sitting between the back fence and the high-tide line. Does the house flood during storms? During exceptionally high tides? Is the ocean eating away at the land?

Home and garden shows sell dreams, not reality. According to them, anyone can have that perfect kitchen with granite countertops, an open-plan first floor, a master bathroom bigger than most New York City apartments — or a home just steps from the ocean.

The first three may empty your bank account, but the fourth is truly dangerous. Sea level is on the rise. What’s oceanfront this year could soon be sitting in the water. The beach is one of the most reckless places to invest in property.

Despite this, recent home shows have capitalized on people’s fantasies of beach living an... Read more