The Caribbean’s agonizing seashores

Tourism resorts, art, and the future of the region’s coastlines

Authored by: Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138786745
eBook ISBN: 9781315766355
Adobe ISBN: 9781317660194


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Those wishing to understand the growing impact of tourism development and climate change on the islands and populations of the Caribbean region could find no better starting point than the tiny island of Petite Martinique, a dependency of the nation of Grenada. A territory of a mere 2.37 square kilometers with a local population of approximately nine hundred, it has been losing one and a half to two meters yearly from portions of its seashore over the last two decades. This territorial loss has resulted from erosion caused by the ceaseless pounding of the Atlantic’s waves, which remove the sands from the seashore just as quickly as they deposit them, exposing the soft ash-cinder layers of rock underneath and threatening the island’s precarious infrastructure, from its single coastal road to its handful of failing retaining walls (Richards). The once-protective coral reefs have been bleached and are now dead or dying, no longer able to protect the seashore from the ocean’s relentless buffeting.

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