• Sign up for new title announcements and special offers.

  • Cloth: $89.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5798-8
  • Paperback: $21.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5809-1
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Foreword vii

    Preface xi

    Acknowledgments xvii

    1. The End is Nigh! 1

    2. Selling the Family Silver: Beach-Sand Mining 24

    3. Indefensible: Hard Structures on Soft Sand 41

    4. Patch-up Jobs: Beach Replinishment 70

    5. The Plastisphere: Trash on the Beach 95

    6. Tar Balls and Magic Pipes 107

    7. Stuck in a Rut: Driving on the Beach 123

    8. The Enemy Within: Beach Pollution 139

    9. The International Dimension of Beach Destruction 160

    10. The End is Here 175

    Appendix 1 199

    Appendix 2 203

    Bibliography 207

    Index 233
  • “A clarion call for a change of policy that prioritizes the preservation of beaches over property rights.”

    The Last Beach almost reads like a message in a bottle, one last act of hope that someone might hear their cries. Don't expect any easy answers, as none exist. Also, consider moving inland.”

    "Beaches, whether sandy or stony, are very much part of summer, but if Orrin Pilkey and Andrew Cooper’s The Last Beach is right, the traditional seaside may soon be a thing of the past. These two geomorphologists argue that the problem is that beaches are dynamic systems, and change position, size and composition as a result of wave action and tidal flow…. Their book neatly combines geography with climate studies and conservation, making it an accessible guide to the threats facing a natural resource we mostly take for granted. The Last Beach shows that Westerners should not get smug about their future because development and house prices frequently trump environmental good sense.”

    The Last Beach did not make my swim this morning much happier, but it does provide its own alarm call – as well as offering a plan of action to reclaim the beach, for ourselves and for future generations.”

    “Pilkey and follow geologist J. Andrew G. Cooper of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Ulster, warn that we will lose the beaches we have long enjoyed if we do not end our insistence on building whatever we want right up to the shoreline. Their book is packed with photographs of the consequences of poor conservation practices, from Topsail Island in North Carolina to Monopoli, Italy, to Benidorm, Spain, and beyond. They offer some dire predictions about what will happen if we don’t change our ways, as well as a way toward a kinder, saner relationship with our beaches.”

    “The professors make one last plea to change course before it's too late, which it probably already is. The book comes with a blurb from Bill McKibben, so you know it's going to be really good, environmentally alarming and totally depressing.”

    “The world’s beaches are disappearing, as much due to rising sea levels as to seaside development and the seawalls intended to protect those new buildings from the encroaching shoreline, say geologists Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper. . . . Perhaps copies of this book . . .  should have been distributed to the [Israeli] National Council for Planning and Building subcommittee due to meet next week to discuss objections to a seawall construction plan.”

    The Last Beach is sprinkled with fascinating trivia about beaches around the world. . . . it is clear and readable.” 

    “This monograph differs by providing an all-encompassing review of the many complex factors affecting beaches, notably ill-advised engineering and development that limits natural beach processes, mining of beach material, myriad pollution sources, and the lack of general understanding of the true value of natural beaches. The clear, well-documented writing is accompanied by 67 photographs that illustrate the authors’ case for a “new view” of beaches. … Highly recommended. All academic and public libraries.”

    "The Last Beach will appeal to many readers. It is great for seaside homeowners and investors, city planners, coastal managers, geologists, and oceanographers. Those who seek to build by the ocean would do well to understand many of the factors that are presented in this book."

    “This is an important book that is critical to the future of the world's beaches. . . . This book is required reading for all those interested in beaches and, indeed, in the very survival of their coastal habitations, infrastructure, and industrial-military complexes that are fronted by beaches.”

    "The Last Beach is an excellent overview of the environmental issues that affect beaches. Writing from scientific backgrounds, Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper provide readers with a comprehendible overview of coastal threats."

    Reviews

  • “A clarion call for a change of policy that prioritizes the preservation of beaches over property rights.”

    The Last Beach almost reads like a message in a bottle, one last act of hope that someone might hear their cries. Don't expect any easy answers, as none exist. Also, consider moving inland.”

    "Beaches, whether sandy or stony, are very much part of summer, but if Orrin Pilkey and Andrew Cooper’s The Last Beach is right, the traditional seaside may soon be a thing of the past. These two geomorphologists argue that the problem is that beaches are dynamic systems, and change position, size and composition as a result of wave action and tidal flow…. Their book neatly combines geography with climate studies and conservation, making it an accessible guide to the threats facing a natural resource we mostly take for granted. The Last Beach shows that Westerners should not get smug about their future because development and house prices frequently trump environmental good sense.”

    The Last Beach did not make my swim this morning much happier, but it does provide its own alarm call – as well as offering a plan of action to reclaim the beach, for ourselves and for future generations.”

    “Pilkey and follow geologist J. Andrew G. Cooper of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Ulster, warn that we will lose the beaches we have long enjoyed if we do not end our insistence on building whatever we want right up to the shoreline. Their book is packed with photographs of the consequences of poor conservation practices, from Topsail Island in North Carolina to Monopoli, Italy, to Benidorm, Spain, and beyond. They offer some dire predictions about what will happen if we don’t change our ways, as well as a way toward a kinder, saner relationship with our beaches.”

    “The professors make one last plea to change course before it's too late, which it probably already is. The book comes with a blurb from Bill McKibben, so you know it's going to be really good, environmentally alarming and totally depressing.”

    “The world’s beaches are disappearing, as much due to rising sea levels as to seaside development and the seawalls intended to protect those new buildings from the encroaching shoreline, say geologists Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper. . . . Perhaps copies of this book . . .  should have been distributed to the [Israeli] National Council for Planning and Building subcommittee due to meet next week to discuss objections to a seawall construction plan.”

    The Last Beach is sprinkled with fascinating trivia about beaches around the world. . . . it is clear and readable.” 

    “This monograph differs by providing an all-encompassing review of the many complex factors affecting beaches, notably ill-advised engineering and development that limits natural beach processes, mining of beach material, myriad pollution sources, and the lack of general understanding of the true value of natural beaches. The clear, well-documented writing is accompanied by 67 photographs that illustrate the authors’ case for a “new view” of beaches. … Highly recommended. All academic and public libraries.”

    "The Last Beach will appeal to many readers. It is great for seaside homeowners and investors, city planners, coastal managers, geologists, and oceanographers. Those who seek to build by the ocean would do well to understand many of the factors that are presented in this book."

    “This is an important book that is critical to the future of the world's beaches. . . . This book is required reading for all those interested in beaches and, indeed, in the very survival of their coastal habitations, infrastructure, and industrial-military complexes that are fronted by beaches.”

    "The Last Beach is an excellent overview of the environmental issues that affect beaches. Writing from scientific backgrounds, Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper provide readers with a comprehendible overview of coastal threats."

  • "We're all used to lying on beaches and zoning out—but it turns out that if we want those beaches to be there much longer we better stand up and make our voices heard. This is fascinating new information about one of the planet's most beloved ecosystems."
    — Bill McKibben, author of, Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape

    "The Last Beach is a must-read for anyone interested in the plight of the world's beaches. This brave confrontation with coastal engineers, coastal planners, developers, politicians, and beachfront property owners lays bare their adverse impact on the world's beaches."
    — Andrew Short, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    The Last Beach is an urgent call to save the world's beaches while there is still time. The geologists Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper sound the alarm in this frank assessment of our current relationship with beaches and their grim future if we do not change the way we understand and treat our irreplaceable shores. Combining case studies and anecdotes from around the world, they argue that many of the world's developed beaches, including some in Florida and in Spain, are virtually doomed and that we must act immediately to save imperiled beaches.

    After explaining beaches as dynamic ecosystems, Pilkey and Cooper assess the harm done by dense oceanfront development accompanied by the construction of massive seawalls to protect new buildings from a shoreline that encroaches as sea levels rise. They discuss the toll taken by sand mining, trash that washes up on beaches, and pollution, which has contaminated not only the water but also, surprisingly, the sand. Acknowledging the challenge of reconciling our actions with our love of beaches, the geologists offer suggestions for reversing course, insisting that given the space, beaches can take care of themselves and provide us with multiple benefits.

    About The Author(s)

    Orrin H. Pilkey, deemed "America’s foremost philosopher of the beaches," by the New York Times, is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Pilkey is a coauthor (with Keith C. Pilkey) of Global Climate Change: A Primer, published by Duke University Press, and of twenty books in the Press's Living with the Shore series, edited by Pilkey and William J. Neal. In 2013, The Orrin Pilkey Marine Science and Conservation Genetics Center opened at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. Pilkey lives in Hillsborough, N.C.

    J. Andrew G. Cooper is Professor of Coastal Studies in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Ulster. He and Pilkey are coauthors (with William J. Neal and Joseph T. Kelley) of The World's Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline and coeditors of Pitfalls of Shoreline Stabilization. Well known for his advocacy of nonintervention on shorelines and his work on beaches and coasts worldwide, Cooper lives in the town of Coleraine in Northern Ireland.
Fall 2017
Explore More
Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu