Land and people's relationship to the land interests me and is a theme that I keep returning to.
I came a cross an recently published book Vanishing landscapes which deals with the fact that landscapes will soon no longer exist the way we know them. John Bergers writing appears and work by photographers such as Edward Burtynsky , Joel Sternfield, and Robert Adams are featured.Photographer An - My Le has written some very thought provoking words in this book:
'While landmasses are carved up into jigsaw puzzles of nations, territories, and green zones, oceans define borders but defy politics. Against the backdrop of an ocean, any enterprise, military, commercial or scientific, appears fragile and barley tolerated.'
I really like this: 'oceans define borders but defy politics' This makes me think about Britain's eroding coastline. Certain parts of the coast especially in Norfolk is eroding faster than ever before. There are communities such as Happisburgh, Walcott, Mundesley that in the not so distant future might be completely swallowed up by the sea and wiped of the map. The U.K government says it is to costly to protect the whole of the coastline. 'Managed retreat' is the term scientists has given this approach, meaning that governments around the world are making decisions about what it can afford to save and what has to be sacrificed. A big part of the Norfolk coast seem to be out of luck, the sea defences are considered unsustainable and new ones will not be built. This mean that many people stand to loose their homes to the sea, farmers will loose their livelihood, historic sites and nature reserves will disappear. Unlike in countries like The Netherlands where compensation is given for loss of land to erosion, in the U.K there is no compensation. The effect the sea has on the land has become a political issue. How to decide what is protected and what is to be sacrificed? And there is talk of what could be Britain's first climate change refugees.
I want to visit these areas, photograph the landscapes and the people who belong to these places, not just Norfolk, though I think this might be a very good starting point but also other areas. At this stage I am quite open minded about what will be included. I could just focus on what I want to call 'Sacrificial Coast' or it could be extended to look at what is done to preserve and defend ourselves from the sea.
Waves of destruction The Guardian April 17 2008Living on the edge The Guardian October 9 2006
As the climate changes, bits of England's coast crumble International Herald Tribune May 4 2007
Should we abandon Britain's crumbling coast? The Guardian August 18 2008
Living on the edge: The owners whose homes are going over a cliff Daily Mail 12 July 2008
Players at England's oldest golf course told to let it crumble into the sea The Guardian May 20 2008
Erosion plea from sea victims BBC News player
Wale's coastal erosion threat BBC News player