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The Invading Sea: author and environmentalist Neville Peat


The Invading Sea: author and environmentalist Neville Peat on New Zealand's climate-change crisis – what should be done and who should pay


It’s time to recognise that climate change is not something for a future generation to deal with. There is no doubt the sea is rising, and erosion and flooding are persisting along many parts of New Zealand’s shoreline – in fact there’s evidence that our islands are gradually shrinking. That’s the message behind The Invading Sea: Coastal hazards and climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand by award-winning author and environmentalist Neville Peat, who was awarded an MNZM for services to conservation this year.

Peat says climate change is the greatest environmental issue facing New Zealand and other Pacific nations this century, which is why he’s written this book as a guide for every New Zealander. He casts a critical eye over the science behind a warming, rising, stormier sea and the engineered solutions that can prevent it devastating our low-lying communities. He also wades into central government for its sluggish response to the crisis.

There are profiles of the key players handling the crisis, including scientists and local body officials, and the individuals and communities who are the most affected. Finally Peat also addresses the vital questions – what should be done and who should pay.

‘When it comes to climate change,’ says Neville Peat, ‘the dynamic frontline is the coast. What you see in this environment is a moving target and an unfolding narrative, pulsating with cumulative risk, property damage and human drama.’

He says The Invading Sea is not written to spread panic but rather, to show that the government, through councils and in conjunction with communities, scientists, planners and engineers, must focus harder and act more practically to achieve fair solutions. He reassures New Zealanders that there is time if the right decisions are made. Although he warns that without the right responses, there will be a tipping point in coastal management when instead of being able to adapt, local communities will have to retreat.

The Invading Sea by Neville Peat is published by The Cuba Press and will be launched in Wellington by Professor James Renwick at the Stout Research Centre, Victoria University, 5.30pm, 11 October 2018; and by Sir Alan Mark at Dunedin Central Library, 5.30pm, 24 October 2018.

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