In Memory of Rachel Carson

I belong to the first generation to think of itself as bicoastal. Born in New Jersey and now retired to California, I have spent a half century of summers on a small island off the coast of Maine.  The surge to the shores is a post-World War II phenomenon, involving the hollowing out of the American heartland,  now known as “flyover country.”

Our consciousness of coasts is partly the result of climate change and threats posed by sea rises, but also reflects the mass movement of goods and people known as globalization. America has been turned inside out, a country of edges without a center.
I have written two books, The Human shore: Seacoasts in History and The Shores around Us exploring this epochal change, as well as a global treatment of islands, Islands of the Mind. Further mediations are posted on my website:  John  R Gillis. I have initiated this blog with the intent of reinvigorating the interdisciplinary discussion initiated by Rachel Carson’s marvelous The Edge of the Sea (1955). Her ability to think as a scientist as well as a humanist is an inspiration to us all.  I invite all those who value the shore to respond,  making this a platform for further discussion.

May 16, 2017     Berkeley, California

One Reply to “In Memory of Rachel Carson”

  1. Hello John,
    Perhaps you can elaborate on this idea that “America has been turned inside out, a country of edges without a center.”? My understanding of the themes expressed in The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History, is that the center has become the shore. Are we not building our homes at the water’s edge because we feel like we have mastered/conquered the shore? We want the comforts we have inland- in San Antonio, Texas or Akron, Ohio -right by the surf. We don’t think the ever changing nature of the shore is a threat to the comforts we desire inland (e.g. a perfectly manicured home with internet service and a easy drive to the supermarket).

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