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Author:Werner Krauß (University of Bremen)
Paper short abstract:
Sea level rise poses a challenge to both coastal protection and nature conservation. Intended practices of supporting artificially the process of sedimentation undermine the familiar separation of nature and culture and, in turn, change the sentiments, the senses of place and identity.
Paper long abstract:
The tidal flat area of the North Sea, the so-called Wadden Sea, is a National Park and UNESCO world heritage site. The North German landscape is the result of a permanent interaction between human dwellers and the sea, of land reclamation, coastal protection and catastrophic floods. The demarcation of the Wadden Sea as a National Park and UNESCO world heritage site in the eighties of the last century has put an end to land reclamation; the battle cry of conservationism was "let Nature be Nature", with the dikes as the materialization of the semiotic border between nature and culture. The opposition between nature and culture, between natural and cultural landscape marked the heated debate about the legitimization of the National Park and defined a new ecological regime. The current climate emergency deeply challenges this familiar opposition; sea level rise and the demands of the energy transition have established a new discursive regime, climate change. Conservationists and coastal engineers discuss supporting artificially the process of natural sedimentation in order to cope with sea level rise; otherwise, the Wadden Sea might disappear. In my presentation, I discuss these changes in strategy in terms of practices and of identity, of sediments and sentiments.
Wet horizons: hydrosocial re-articulations in the Anthropocene [EnviroAnt]