Surfing, kayaking idyllic coves, fishing shallow sandbars, bluffside trail runs, camping along seaside cliffs, homes built on a golden beach—all of these things big parts of what have drawn millions to California over the past century. But this past century, when much of the coastal infrastructure and lifestyle was created, has been unusually stable one as far as sea level changes go. As seas rise, so much that everyone here has taken for granted has changed with it. Beachside towns across the state are reckoning with the natural forces causing the change, some by a managed retreat, others by trying to outmuscle the sea. “The human urge to outmatch nature is age-old,” writes Rosanna Xia in this fascinating read about California’s coastal future.

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